Australians Start Own Safety Foundation

W.B. Runciman

At the conclusion of the Meeting in Adelaide in May, 1987, it was agreed that a body called the ‘Australian Patient W Foundation; be established as a non-profit organization with the aim of promoting, organizing, funding, conducting research into, and establishing mechanisms for advancing patient safety in anesthesia care.

This organization has now been formed, and the central office has been located within the new academic Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Strong links have been established with the Therapeutic Devices Evaluation Committee of the Australian Commonwealth Department of Community Services and Health, with the Emergency Care Research Institute in the United States, and with the National Safety Council of Australia, Victorian Division. Four persons have been employed. These comprise an experienced anesthetist with an interest and expertise in computing, two biomedical engineers and an office manager.

The organization will have a number of specific immediate aims: (1) To conduct equipment evaluation studies. (2) To organize and conduct ‘workshops’ and ‘think tanks’. (3) To organize and conduct educational activities and courses. (4) To provide handbooks and manuals for procedures and equipment. (5) To promote, organize and coordinate incident reporting and critical incident reporting studies. (6) To promote, conduct workshops and carry out medical decision analyses. (7) To promote, advise and coordinate the setting up of computer orientated anesthetic records and records of procedures. (8) To offer services related to patient safety. (9) To act as a clearing house for information. (10) To be self funded.

The interface between biotechnology and man is evolving very rapidly. Many groups are expending much effort in pursuing their legitimate interests in this area. These activities are not always necessarily consistent with the pursuit of patient saw. The APSF (Australia) was formed in recognition of the growing need for an independent body to promote the exchange of information from the perspective of those on the receiving end the patients. It is hoped that it will constitute a vigorous body which will provide infrastructure and funding for research and projects in as many anesthetic departments and practices as possible.

Dr. Runciman is Professor of Anaesthetics, Royal Adelaide Hospital.