Effective clinical governance systems are fundamental to ‘Targeting zero’

July 27, 2021

All Victorians have the right to expect high-quality healthcare – and effective clinical governance systems are fundamental to delivering on that expectation.

A 2020 review of health services found that there is more work to do to ensure clinical governance systems are driving continuous improvement towards better patient outcomes and zero avoidable harm.

The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) released the Clinical governance: health services report in June 2021, following an audit of clinical governance at four representative health services in Victoria.

The report made 18 recommendations – some to all four audited health services, and others to one or more of the audited services.

VHA’s CEO Tom Symondson said that while the VHA recognises the challenges and changes that Victorian health services have faced since the audit took place in early-2020, there are opportunities to learn from the recommendations and improve clinical governance processes in the current environment.

That’s why the VHA is using the report and recommendations to inform professional development opportunities for health service leaders, in partnership with the Australian Centre for Healthcare Governance (ACHG).

The ACHG’s Executive Director, Jo-Anne Moorfoot, will lead health leaders through the expectations of Victoria’s Clinical Governance Framework and VAGO’s recommendations as part of a new healthcare leader education offering.

‘Health service boards are accountable to the Minister for the safety and quality of care provided by their service,’ Jo-Anne said.

‘As well as establishing a vision, strategic directions, and culture that drives high-quality care, boards must ensure robust clinical governance structures and systems are in place to identify and address risks.’

‘But those clinical governance structures and functions cannot be static. They must be regularly evaluated and reported on to drive continuous improvement.’

Helping health services improve clinical governance

The VHA has developed a member briefing and resource kit to provide an overview of the audit and report, VAGO’s recommendations to the audited health services, and how the recommendations can be applied to clinical governance at all health services.

Clinical governance will also be featured an upcoming ‘lunch and learn’ session for health board directors and executive leaders, scheduled for 15 September. Click here to find out more.