BC Patient Safety & Quality Council

Working Together. Accelerating Improvement

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was the Council created?

The Ministry of Health held stakeholder consultations through 2007/08 to discuss developing a provincial approach to patient safety. One of the key elements identified was the need for one organization to serve as a focal point for patient safety and quality improvement in British Columbia.

In the February 2008 Speech from the Throne, the provincial government committed to establishing a patient safety and quality council to “enhance patient safety, reduce errors, promote transparency and identify best practices to improve patient care.”

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What does the Council do?

The Council has a number of key roles and responsibilities, including:

  • System-wide leadership and coordination
    We provide advice and recommendations; lead and coordinate the development of safety and quality initiatives; and bring together stakeholders as required in response to emerging safety and quality issues.
  • Measurement and evaluation
    We monitor, assess and report on the quality of health services; assist in the development of safety and quality indicators; and foster the development of best practices.
  • Policy, regulation and legislation
    We provide advice regarding health care policy, legislation and regulation to advance the patient safety agenda in BC.
  • Education and professional development
    We promote improvement in patient safety and care quality through education and training programs that we operate as well as programs operated by other organizations.
  • Information and communication
    We engage the public in its own care, and develop programs and activities for this purpose; and we develop ways to improve transparency and accountability of the health system to patients.

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How does the Council work with stakeholders?

The Council collaborates with key stakeholders throughout British Columbia, Canada and internationally. It supports health authorities and other service delivery partners in their continuous efforts to enhance patient safety and improve the quality of patient care.

What does 'quality' mean?

‘Quality’ is one of those words where, if 10 people were polled, 10 different definitions could be provided. In essence, when used in a health care setting, a common definition involves how well the right care is delivered to the right patient at the right time.

How is 'quality' measured?

We created the BC Health Quality Matrix in order to provide a common language and understanding about what health quality is and how it is measured in British Columbia. The Matrix asseses quality from individual patient/client, population and system-wide perspectives.

Who are the Council members?

Council members are generally people with expertise and experience in patient safety and quality improvement, including:

  • Extensive and recent clinical experience;
  • Legal expertise;
  • Expertise in patient safety, quality improvement, and clinical risk management in the health care system;
  • Knowledge of best practice and implementation of innovation in the health care system;
  • Knowledge of health services research, measurement and evaluation;
  • Knowledge of clinical epidemiology; and
  • Significant experience at a senior executive level within government or in the private or academic sectors in British Columbia.

When and where does the Council meet?

Council members meet four or five times per year, or more frequently depending on the work plan or at the discretion of the Council Chair. Meetings are held in Vancouver.

How long do members serve on the Council?

Council members are eligible to serve terms of no more than two years, and may be reappointed to consecutive terms at the discretion of the Minister of Health.

How many people sit on the council?

The Council consists of seven members – the Chair, four members, and two ex-officio members: a Ministry of Health representative and the UBC Academic Chair for Patient Safety.

How many staff support the Council?

The Council is supported by over 25 staff members who work out of the Council’s office in Vancouver as well as locations throughout the province.

Is the Council independent from government?

The Council operates at arm’s length from government, but is ultimately accountable to the Minister of Health. The Chair reports quarterly to the Minister, or more frequently as required.

Can I submit a care quality complaint to the Patient Safety and Quality Council?

No.  If you would like to make a complaint regarding the quality of a health care service you received within a health authority, please contact the Patient Care Quality Office within that health authority.

If you have been unable to resolve your complaint through the Patient Care Quality Office, you may submit a review request to the Patient Care Quality Review Board.

How is the Council different from the Patient Care Quality Review Boards?

The review boards have been set up specifically to review patient complaints.

If a patient is dissatisfied with a health authority’s response to his/her complaint, then he/she can request that a review board look into the matter. A review may or may not result in recommendations to the health authority pertaining to patient safety or quality improvement.

If you wish to request a review of the health authority’s management of a complaint, please visit www.patientcarequalityreviewboard.ca.