Supporting treatment safety

We aim to reduce injuries in New Zealand that are caused by treatment from registered health providers. To do this, we’re working with the health sector and supporting prevention programmes.

On this page

    Number of treatment injuries in New Zealand

    We’ve published a report on claims for treatment injuries in New Zealand. It helps us understand why these injuries happen so we can support work to prevent them.

    Supporting treatment safety report

    If you need help with lodging a treatment injury claim, we have a guide that can help. It includes everything you need to know about lodging a claim, and the resources available to help you do it.

    Treatment injury claim lodgement guide
    Treatment injury claim lodgement flowchart

    Reviewing adverse events

    Reviewing adverse events gives us information about the causes and contributing factors of adverse medical incidents.  We're working with the health sector to:

    • learn more
    • improve participation
    • improve the quality of reviews.

    Sharing the lessons learned will help reduce these events in future. 

    Preventing treatment injuries

    Wound infections

    Infections are the most common type of treatment injury. Infections caused by surgery pose the greatest risk to patients.

    Prevention and treatment of wound infections
    Surgical Site Infection Improvement Programme

    Literature review on health care acquired infections - executive summaries
    The Literature review on health care acquired infections document contains summaries of the different chapters. Email us if you’re interested in the full chapters.


    Pressure injuries

    Pressure injuries, also known as bed sores, are a common treatment injury in New Zealand. Evidence suggests there are 55,000 new pressure injuries every year.

    To reduce the number of pressure injuries, we’re working with the:

    • Ministry of Health
    • Health Quality and Safety Commission
    • wider health sector.

    Guiding principles for pressure injury prevention and management
    The New Zealand Wound Care Society’s Stop Pressure Injury resources

    Foetal Anticonvulsant Syndrome

    We've worked with experts from across the sector to let women, their families and their health providers know about the effects of taking antiepileptic medicine during pregnancy. This includes:

    • the use - for epilepsy, mood disorders, and pain management
    • the risk of harm - malformations and cognitive impairments
    • what to do if they're pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

    Foetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome New Zealand (FACSNZ)

    Download or order resources

    You can download these resources or email us to order free copies:


    For health providers:

    Benefits and risks of taking antiepileptic medicine for women
    Benefits and risks of taking antiepileptic medicine for women - mobile version

    For women, their family and whānau:

    Taking medicines for epilepsy, mood or pain
    Taking medicines for epilepsy, mood or pain - mobile version

    Neonatal Encephalopathy

    Neonatal Encephalopathy (NE) is a major cause of brain injury in new born infants. It doesn’t occur often but when it does the effects are long-lasting and have a high impact.

    We support the NE Taskforce that brings together expert representatives from:

    • health care providers
    • clinicians
    • professional bodies
    • government agencies
    • patient advocacy groups.

    We’re developing a sector-wide improvement programme to reduce the number and severity of NE cases.

    Why the NE Taskforce was developed
    The NE Strategy

    Surgical simulation training

    We partner with Auckland University medical school to deliver a simulation-based team training programme. This is for staff across all 20 District Health Boards (DHBs) who work in operating rooms. The programme aims to improve patient safety during an operation. 

    NetworkZ - Improving safety and efficiency of care for patients - Safer surgery

    Raising awareness of patient safety

    We support the Health Quality and Safety Commission to present their Patient Safety Week. It raises awareness and support for patient safety in all healthcare settings.

    As part of Patient Safety Week, we’ve put together a resource for your patients to take away. This helps them know what questions to ask when they see their health provider.

    Patient Safety Week
    Questions to get the most out of your healthcare

    Medical devices

    We’re working on an initiative to track treatment injury claims caused by surgical devices. This includes devices like surgical mesh and metal-on-metal hip prostheses.

    Contact us

    Get in touch if you have questions or would like more information about our programmes.


    Last published: 31 May 2019