Frequently Asked Questions
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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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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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.
“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.
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 assesses quality from individual patient/client, population and system-wide perspectives.
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.
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.
Council members are typically appointed for a one-year term with the possibility of reappointment for a two-year term, followed by a three-year term for a total of six years. Reappointments are not guaranteed. Only in exceptional circumstances will members’ terms be extended beyond the six-year maximum. Lengths of terms may be adjusted to ensure optimal succession planning and staggering of appointments
The Council consists of nine members – the Chair, six additional members, and two ex-officio members: a Ministry of Health representative and the UBC Academic Chair for Patient Safety.
The Council is supported by over 40 staff members who work out of the Council’s office in Vancouver as well as locations throughout the province.
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.
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.
The review boards have been set up specifically to review patient complaints.
If a patient is dissatisfied with a health authority’s response to their complaint, then they 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 the Patient Care Quality Review Boards website.