Safety and Quality > National Priorities > Australian Safety and Quality Goals for Health Care

The landscape of the health system in Australia is changing with current health reforms. Much of Australia’s health reform is aimed at improving access to care, improving efficiency, increasing public information about health service performance and ensuring more transparent funding of public hospitals. Safety and quality is central to the delivery of health care, and considerations about safety and quality are embedded in the health reforms. In this context, Australian Health Ministers asked the the Commission to look at the wide range of work that has been done over the last five to ten years to improve safety and quality in Australia, and to identify a small number of national safety and quality goals. These are areas where coordinated national work, building on existing efforts, could lead to some significant improvement in the safety and quality of health care. Work commenced to identify and develop a set of national safety and quality goals in August 2011. This involved researching Australian and international safety and quality challenges, drafting a discussion paper outlining the context and options for goals and undertaking national consultation and convening expert groups for advice and guidance. In August 2012 Australian Health Ministers agreed to the first set of Australian Safety and Quality Goals for Health Care (the Goals). These Goals are:

  1. Safety of care: That people receive health care without experiencing preventable harm
  2. Appropriateness of care: That people receive appropriate, evidence-based care
  3. Partnering with consumers: That there are effective partnerships between consumers and healthcare providers and organisations at levels of healthcare provision, planning and evaluation.

Actions to achieve the Goals can occur in different ways and in different parts of in the health system. Everyone has a role to play in this process. The ACSQHC has developed an Overview of the Goals. In addition, for each Goal and priority area the Commission has written an Action Guide that describes some of the outcomes which could be achieved and activities that can be undertaken to support change and improvement in these areas. The Commission has also prepared a Development and Consultation Report which describes the process undertaken for developing the goals, rationale for selection of the Goals and analysis of feedback received through the consultation process. Improvements in the areas identified in the Goals will move the Australian health system closer to achieving safe and high quality care that is consumer centred, driven by information and organised for safety. For a copy of the draft discussion paper and submissions to the consultation process click here.

More information

For more information, please contact Dr Nicola Dunbar at the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care on