Australian health care professionals working in primary health settings, including optometry, are encouraged to demonstrate their compliance with new National Safety and Quality Primary and Community Healthcare Standards from mid-2022.
Announced by the Federal Health Minister, the Honourable Greg Hunt, the standards have been introduced to assure the public that the healthcare provider they are visiting:
• Is accessing a health care service that is committed to providing safe and high-quality health care;
• Is committed to continuously improving what they do; and
• Everyone in the healthcare service is accountable to the patient for the delivery of safe, effective and high-quality health care.
we support the standards and accreditation system as a way of sending an even stronger message to patients that optometrists provide the highest level of care
An independent assessment by a qualified accreditation service will determine whether or not an individual practice meets the required National Safety and Quality Primary and Community Healthcare Standards and those that do will be provided with an accreditation certificate or accreditation badge for display in the practice and/or on the website.
While conforming to the standard is strongly encouraged, practices are free to choose whether or not to pursue accreditation.
Optometry Australia is reviewing the new standards to determine how best the organisation can assist members to ensure they are meeting them.
CEO Lyn Brodie said, “While we acknowledge that optometrists already comply with rigorous patient and clinical care procedures, we support the standards and accreditation system as a way of sending an even stronger message to patients that optometrists provide the highest level of care as they follow recognised and accredited processes designed to minimise the risk of harm to their patients.
“It further reinforces that optometrists are recognised health professionals who comply with the same level of standards as other primary and community health professionals including dentists and nurses.”
The National Safety and Quality Primary and Community Healthcare Standards, were developed after wide consultation including health care professionals and members of the community. They were authored by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
Commission Chief Medical Officer and Conjoint Professor Anne Duggan said, “Implementing these standards is the best way for you to demonstrate to your patients when they visit you, they are accessing a healthcare service that is safe, of high quality and that will partner with them in their health care”.
She said the standards will be a game changer for the health sector in Australia, by giving practitioners the tools to be even better.
A consistent national standard in hospitals and day procedure services has been in place for a decade and these new standards are designed to increase patient confidence and the level of care that they received across the broader health sector.