Feature Image

The Governor of Victoria's speech to launch the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare.


Professor Euan Wallace AM, Chair, Australian Committee, International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare
Mr Derek Feeley, President and CEO of IHI
Dr Fiona Godlee, Editor-in Chief of the BMJ
Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen

First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we are gathering and pay my respects to their Elders past and present and to Elders here with us this morning. And thank Gheran Steel for the warm Welcome to Country.

It is a pleasure to welcome to Melbourne so many distinguished healthcare professionals from more than 35 countries around the world, to participate in the 28th International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare.

I understand that this is the first time that the Forum has been held in Australia. I am pleased that you have chosen Melbourne for that honour.

You have probably heard of our proud status of liveability. I think two particular elements of that liveability feed into this being a successful venue for your important meeting.

First, Melbourne is a city that values every aspect of healthcare. We are fortunate to be home to a number of world class teaching hospitals, and two significant clusters of highly ranked universities, and research institutes specialising in health and biosciences.

Melbourne is also a city that welcomes visitors -  as I hope you have discovered or will discover. Just as I hope you will discover and enjoy our devotion to good coffee and restaurants, beautiful inner-city parklands, major sporting events and the arts.

If you have any time at all, which I know is rare when you all come together and try to maximise the opportunity to exchange ideas, remember that you are surrounded here by spectacular country and coastal drives, as well as wineries. Perhaps, an excursion could magnify the chance for you to talk with colleagues.

I have looked at your program. Naturally, some of the detailed sessions are outside my expertise, as you explore a full range of technical issues around quality and safety in healthcare.

But what is easy to glean is your shared commitment to the health outcomes for both individual patients and for whole populations.

It is also easy to understand how you arrived at your chosen  theme for this  forum of  ‘Connect. Co-Create. Communicate.’

You recognise that, for the protective steps required to support patients – whether in small or large numbers – you must continue to hone your professional skills, collaborate across disciplines and think and act in innovative ways.

Obviously, everyone involved in healthcare wants to see it at its best. But we do need professionals who are specifically dedicated to the twin missions of quality and safety. With so many focused minds in one room, creative thoughts can be ignited, debated and even refined. Knowledge, analytical tools and technology can be shared. 

And against that backdrop, you are well armed to  interrogate the way we have ‘always done things’, and to learn from each other’s experiences.

Locally, I am proud of the hospitals that I believe you visited yesterday and of Safer Care Victoria, under the watchful leadership of Professor Euan Wallace AM. I was very pleased to meet with him shortly after his appointment, to hear about some of the important issues confronting us in the continuing search for improvement.

I took great heart from that meeting. As I take great heart from this Forum.

Thank you to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and the BMJ. Thank you for your leadership and vision as you continue to innovate for healthcare, worldwide.

And, to everyone in the room, I say ‘thank you’ for putting patient safety and the quest for continual quality improvement at the heart of everything you do.

Let me now wish you well in your important discussions, as I now declare the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare officially open.