Kinder, safer health care

In 2016 SVHA embarked on a program of culture change called ‘the Ethos Program – Inspired to Shine’. This will result in a kinder, safer and more reliable health care system. We recently reached an important milestone with the launch of the Ethos program at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

The lead up to the launch involved six months of planning including:

  • completion of an organisational readiness assessment
  • establishment of a Steering Committee
  • development and implementation of a communications and promotions strategy, and
  • development of a training strategy which included the training of Ethos messengers, Ethos trainers and the roll out of the Ethos “All staff awareness sessions”.

Staff are able to enter reports about their colleagues’ behaviour into the web based Ethos reporting tool. These reports can be either positive (i.e. about behaviour that supports a culture of patient and staff safety) or negative (i.e. about behaviour that undermines a culture of patient or staff safety).

In the first month of the program, there were:

  • 18 reports submitted which included eight negative reports and 10 positive reports
  • eight Ethos messages delivered
  • 49 Ethos messengers and eight Ethos trainers trained, and
  • Approximately 100 staff participated in the Ethos all staff awareness session.

So far, there has been a positive response and great interest from across the hospital and this interest will grow as more staff learn about the program.

During the year, we were successful with our National Health and Medical Research Council grant application in partnership with the Australian Institute of Health Care Innovation. The grant provides $1.2 million to evaluate the SVHA Ethos program nationally over three years.

We are preparing to roll out the Ethos program across all our facilities. There has also been interest in Ethos from the wider health sector and SVHA is establishing collaborative relationships with other health services to share and further develop the program.