Health Care Leadership, Quality and Safety

By Duckett, Stephen | Australian Health Review, August 2009 | Go to article overview

Health Care Leadership, Quality and Safety


Duckett, Stephen, Australian Health Review


THIS ISSUE OF Australian Health Review started as part of a Festschrift to celebrate the work and leadership of Professor Mike Ward, currently Commissioner of the Health Quality and Complaints Commission in Queensland but previously inaugural Senior Director of the Clinical Practice Improvement Centre in Queensland Health and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Queensland, as well as Commissioner of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. During his time at Queensland Health and in clinical practice, Mike made an outstanding contribution to health care in Queensland, recognised by the award of the Public Service Medal. Initially trained as a gastroenterologist, Professor Ward's interest broadened to include organisational issues such as communication among teams, and how to measure and improve quality of care. He was particularly interested in methods of displaying data to highlight the underlying patterns in the information presented. Mike, not surprisingly for someone who occupied a professorial role, was also interested in the development of health professionals and played a key role in the creation and shaping of Queensland Health's world renowned Skills Development Centre.

This issue of the Journal includes three sections which directly and specifically relate to Professor Ward's areas of interest. The first section, on leadership, includes four anieles which canvas aspects of the leadership development programs conducted by Queensland Health over the last three years. These programs were critical to the transformation of the Queensland Health culture that was required post Bundaberg. In brief, criticisms of Queensland Health, as a result of formal public Inquiries and in the media, highlighted the need to change the culture of Queensland Health and to promote transparency, openness and clinical engagement. The programs developed by Queensland Health became the largest leadership programs offered anywhere in Australia, let alone in the health industry, with more than 5000 staff participating in two-day leadership programs (either residential or non-residential) over an 18month period. …

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