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February 6, 2009
For immediate release

PEI’s Deputy Minister of Health Selected to sit on a National Patient Safety Board


The Deputy Minister for the PEI Department of Health, Keith Dewar, has been selected to represent Atlantic Canada on the board of directors for the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI). The Institute promotes leading practices and raises awareness about patient safety among stakeholders, patients and the general public and encourages collaboration between governments, health care professionals, organizations, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders.

“This Government is committed to ensuring that Islanders receive the safest and highest quality of care possible,” said Doug Currie, Minister of Health. “Research has indicated that the best way to reduce the number of preventable incidents is to increase awareness and education around patient safety. We have come a long way in enhancing patient safety on Prince Edward Island, but we need to continue to learn more about leading practices and national standards.”

“There is a national focus on enhancing patient safety in health care facilities across the country,” said Keith Dewar, Deputy Minister for the Department of Health. “This position provides us with a chance to be involved in the planning and discussions that take place at a national level and to learn more about leading practices. Being involved in the CPSI also ensures that the issues and challenges we face here in Atlantic Canada are brought to the table and it provides us with the opportunity to engage in national initiatives.”

“The interest the Deputy Minister has shown in the national Canadian Patient Safety Board demonstrates the Department of Health’s commitment to patient safety and quality care,” said Janet Hodder, Patient Safety Officer. “The Department is also already involved in a number of initiatives organized by the CPSI, including the national Safer Healthcare Now! Program and the national Hand Hygiene Campaign.”

The Safer Healthcare Now! program is a national campaign coordinated and operated by the CPSI. The program focuses on strategies that improve the safety of patient care through learning, sharing and implementing best practices. A number of these strategies have been implemented in health care facilities across the province, including, acute care and long term care facilities. These strategies will help improve medication processes by creating the best possible medication history for every patient; reduce the risk of infection after surgery; assist patients recovering from a heart-attack; manage or prevents falls and reduce the risk of pneumonia infection for patients requiring a ventilator.

Last year, the Department of Health also developed a provincial Healthcare Safety Advisory Committee. The committee was developed to provide leadership in advancing patient safety practices and to promote safety across the health system, which includes developing and implementing a strategy to enhance patient safety throughout the health system.

Media Contact: Maureen Flanagan-LeClair
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