Standard 4


Standard 4: Medication Safety


Ensure competent clinicians safely prescribe, dispense and administer appropriate medicines to informed patients and carers.

Hospital Standards

Epworth is accredited under the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. These national standards apply to all health services organisations and state the minimum level of care – the national benchmark – that consumers can expect. Hospitals must report their performance against the standards on a regular basis and are also subject to periodic reviews and assessments.

For further information, refer to the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards Guide (PDF).


Epworth Standards

At Epworth we want to provide excellent patient care. For this reason, we set our own, stricter benchmarks against each of the standards, and we measure our performance against these. The table below provides details of the national benchmark, the Epworth internal benchmark and our average result against each of the items.

​Standard 4: Medication Safety
​National Benchmark
​Epworth HealthCare Internal Benchmark
​Epworth HealthCare Average 2014
Epworth HealthCare Average 2015 ​Average FY 2015-16 †​
M​edication incident rate​ ​3.70 ​3.00 ​2.62 3.00 #​ 3.30 #​
Medication incidents with harm rate ​0.54 ​0.30 ​0.17 0.10 # 0.10 #​
​Near miss** medication incident rate n/a* 25% ​24%
18% # 
18% #​

Rate=per 1,000 bed days.​

* n/a denotes that no national benchmark has been defined, so Epworth has set its own.
** A 'near miss' is an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damagebut had the potential to do so.

# A lower number is better.

† Figures for year ending 30/6/2016.



  • Medication incident reporting is a self-reporting system in all hospitals. At Epworth, staff are encouraged to report incidents and near misses so that we can improve our safety. Increased reporting reflects our positive culture of continuous improvement. ​
  • Epworth Richmond is one of 24 hospitals in Australia which made a five-year commitment to participate in the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care High 5s Medication Reconciliation Program.
  • Since 2009 we have steadily reduced our total number of medication incidents through:
    • the introduction of the National Inpatient Medication Chart to standardise medication documentation
    • the introduction of nursing bedside clinical handover, including a review of the patient's medication chart, and patient conversations with the pharmacist about understanding the medications they take.
    • an annual focus month to highlight the importance of medication safety 
    • staff education and reference resources available in all departments and online
    • the introduction of a review process for all medication incidents with staff
    • reconciling medications brought in with medications prescribed.

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