40 year Cocktail Function

ACHS recently took the opportunity to mark the occasion of its beginnings in 1974 with the three organisations who co-founded what was first known as 'The Australian Hospitals Standards Association'.

As ACHS President Adjunct Associate Professor Karen Linegar noted "As Australia's oldest healthcare accreditation provider, turning 40 is both a celebration and a time to reflect on what we are planning for the future", she said.

"Turning 40 is a memorable event for anyone - as it is usually a bookmark in life to stop and reflect on what has been achieved and to also consider the future."

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In looking to our future, I am very pleased tonight to announce that the Board of ACHS has appointed a new Chief Executive, Dr Christine Dennis."

"Christine has an extensive background in safety and quality and has worked as a senior executive in numerous roles, most recently as Acting CEO Northern Territory Health.  Christine brings strong strategic leadership skills, knowledge and experience to the position coupled with a high level of engagement across the health sector."

"Christine, who will commence in her new role on 21 July, will complement the executive staff at ACHS and continue to position ACHS at the forefront of the safety and quality."

The three founding organisations who were responsible for establishing what we know today as ACHS were acknowledged: the Australian Hospital Association which we now know today as the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association - the AHHA (represented by Chair of the AHHA Dr Paul Scown), the Federal branch of the AMA (newly-elected President A/Prof Brian Owler was an apology but was represented by ACHS Board member, AMA representative, Professor Geoffrey Dobb), and the NSW branch of AMA whose President, Dr Saxon Smith who was unable to attend.

A/Prof Linegar gave a potted history of the formation of the ACHS which actually started in the 1960s when a number of clinicians noted deficiencies that existed throughout the public hospital system in Sydney.  After a few false starts ACHS finally came into being in 1974 to set about creating standards at a time when the concept of patient safety and quality was not as valued as it is today. 

It was noted that ACHS has been responsible for many of the improvements seen in patient safety and improvements in quality and performance in healthcare over the last 40 years.

And, despite the relatively small resources to start the organisation, ACHS battled to establish its identity and credentials with those who mattered, and created a national sense of ownership to promote safety and quality in the health care industry.

A/Prof Linegar noted that "One of the strengths of the ACHS - is that it is a national organisation, and I think that also places its achievements in an extraordinary position when you consider we are a federated country of states and territories and health is one of the most complex industries.  To have achieved a movement towards a nationwide cohesion in healthcare standards is outstanding," she said.

Key achievements over the years were noted as:

  • Development of a set of healthcare standards used nationally and internationally that sets us apart from other healthcare accreditation providers.  The Evaluation and Quality Improvement Program (EQuIP) which has made us who we are today, giving us authority and credibility.  For many members, EQuIP provides a continuous quality improvement paradigm in their journey of establishing safety and quality improvement initiatives for their patients.

  • The Clinical Indicator Program which has been around for nearly a quarter of a century. We have every right to be proud of being the first country in the world to have developed and utilised a system of 22 clinical indicator sets.  We were innovators as well as pioneers.  Many countries are still catching up and turn to us for advice on how they can establish a similar system, and learn from us.  All at ACHS are very proud of this program.

  • Lastly - and by no means least - the ACHS peer surveyors.  Without our 510 surveyors here and overseas - and thanks to the many volunteer surveyors we have had over the years - we are deeply indebted for their time, their efforts, and the sharing of their knowledge.

A/Prof Linegar concluded that "It is very easy to take for granted that patient safety and quality performance are more than just ideals, that over time they have turned into everyday expectations.  ACHS has been helping Australians and a number of countries overseas get to this place now for four decades."

Last Review Date 03 July 2014

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