About us

This page provides an overview of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) – including its purpose and accountability.

What is safety and quality?

Patient safety and quality is often summarised as the right care, in the right place, at the right time and cost. The Commission defines patient safety as prevention of error and adverse effects associated with health care; and quality as ‘the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge’.

The Commission's purpose

Our purpose is to contribute to better health outcomes and experiences for all patients and consumers, and improved value and sustainability in the health system by leading and coordinating national improvements in the safety and quality of health care.

Within this overarching purpose the Commission aims to ensure people are kept safe when they receive health care and that they receive the health care they should.

Priority areas

The Commission works in four priority areas:

  • Patient safety
  • Partnering with patients, consumers and communities
  • Quality, cost and value
  • Supporting health professionals to provide care that is informed, supported and organised to deliver safe and high-quality care.

The Commission's accountability

The Commission is a corporate Commonwealth entity and part of the Health portfolio of the Australian Government. As such, it is accountable to the Australian Parliament and the Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt.

The Commission's history

In 2006, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) established the Commission to lead and coordinate national improvements in the safety and quality of health care. The Commission’s permanent status was confirmed with the passage of the National Health and Hospitals Network Act 2011, while its role was codified in the National Health Reform Act 2011.

The Commission commenced as an independent statutory authority on 1 July 2011, funded jointly by the Australian Government and by state and territory governments.