National safety priorities in mental health: a national plan for reducing harm

Identified priorities

Page last updated: October 2005

In early 2004, the Safety and Quality in Mental Health Partnership Group undertook a consultation process with stakeholders to identify key priority safety issues. Of the identified priorities the Partnership Group strongly supported four priorities for immediate national attention. These priorities reflect areas where there is much scope for improvement and where the consequences of errors, omissions and complications are great. They are all areas where consumers, carers, service providers and policy makers agree safety can be improved for all concerned.

The priority areas agreed for first attention nationally are:

  • Reducing suicide and deliberate self-harm in mental health and related health care settings
  • Reducing use of, and where possible eliminating, restraint and seclusion
  • Reducing adverse drug events in mental health services and
  • Safe transport of people experiencing mental disorders.
These nationally identified priorities do not preclude identification of additional priorities or strategies for action. It is recognised that jurisdictions, services and sectors will have differing priorities and capacity when implementing safety improvement initiatives. It is recognised that the priorities, objectives and strategies have particular relevance to public specialised mental health services.

The list of safety issues identified in the consultation has been included in Appendix 4 for consideration when mental health service organisations are undertaking quality improvement activities.