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Qual Saf Health Care. 2006 Dec;15(6):437-42.

Developing a national patient safety education framework for Australia.

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  • 1Edward Ford Building, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.



In 2004, The Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care recognised that the lack of a comprehensive framework describing competencies for patient safety was a barrier to achieving a competent and safe health workforce. This article describes the building of a national patient safety education framework that describes the competencies for healthcare workers.


Develop an educational framework that was patient centred and identified the knowledge, skills and behaviours required by healthcare workers irrespective of their profession, position or location.


The content of the framework was developed using a four-staged approach: literature review, development of learning areas and topics, classification into learning domains and, lastly, converting into a performance-sbased format. An extensive consultation and validation process was also undertaken.


A national patient safety education framework was endorsed by The Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care in 2005. The framework is already being used to develop curricula and train the trainer programmes in patient safety.


The framework, which draws its educational approach from adult learning principles, was extensively researched and built on the experience of healthcare workers. The next challenge is to test different strategies for implementing the framework.

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