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Let’s talk about safe culture in healthcare

18 Nov 2021

For this episode of Taking care, we’re looking at culture in healthcare. We ask why, and how, an open and fair culture supports safe outcomes.

Our guests for this episode are Dr Rod Hunt, a neonatologist and scientist at Monash Health; Professor Suzette Woodward, a Visiting Professor in Patient Safety at Imperial College in London; and Michael Greco, the CEO of Care Opinion Australia. 

Speaking with host Susan Biggar, they talk about what a conducive and supportive workplace means in the health workforce. They also discuss the realities of the other side: what ‘blame culture’ looks like and its effect on patient safety.

‘It’s critically important that every member of the team knows that if something doesn’t go to plan, it needs to be discussed. It can’t be thrown under the carpet or hidden, but [must] be brought up – not as an exercise in humilitation or to blame anybody, but as an opportunity to learn so that those avoidable things can be prevented in the future. And, so that people can do better next time,’ Dr Hunt said. 

The guests share examples of culture and its power to transform patient and practitioner experiences. Professor Woodward points to some basic relationship foundations that give rise to meaningful connections and ultimately a safe space for staff and for patients, even in environments that can be chaotic and confronting.

‘The more we know about each other, the more we can depend upon each other and the more we can find each other when needed in times of distress,’ Professor Woodward said.

Mr Greco recognises that these healthy working relationships among practitioners lead to a better ‘journey of care’  that ultimately benefits patients.

‘When something does go wrong, there’s a sense of trust that’s been built, so what happens after really depends on what’s happened before,’ Mr Greco said.

Listen to the full episode now.

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Page reviewed 18/11/2021