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Health services must notify the most serious cases of patient harm and death that have resulted from adverse patient safety events, and make sure they are properly reviewed. 

We also follow up with health services to see if they have acted to help prevent further harm.

What do you have to report?

Adverse patient safety events that result in serious harm, or death of a patient while in the care of a health service. Serious harm is considered to have occurred when, as a result of the incident, the patient has:

  • required life-saving surgical or medical intervention
  • received a shortened life expectancy
  • experienced permanent or long-term physical harm, or permanent or long-term loss of function.

See a full list of what you need to report.

Who needs to report?

All public and private health services, and all services under their governance structures. Examples of health services include:

  • Ambulance Victoria
  • bush nursing centres
  • Forensicare (Thomas Embling Hospital)
  • public sector residential aged care facilities
  • hospital in the home services
  • private day surgery facilities.

Unsure if you need to report?

Read the list of sentinel event categories.

Or contact our patient safety review team

Notify us of a sentinel event

Follow our steps to notify and review a sentinel event, and implement your recommendations.

If the adverse event doesn't classify as a sentinel event, we recommend you still undertake a review. Read our guidance on how to do this.

Why reporting sentinel events is important

Listen to this interview with Alfred Health's Rural Urgent Care Nursing Capability Development Program, where SCV's Joanne Miller talks about the importance of reporting and learning from sentinel events.

What do we do with this information?

Every sentinel event is an opportunity to learn and get better – not just at an individual health service, but across the healthcare system. 

We share those lessons through the Sentinel events annual report.

Get in touch

Patient Safety Review Team
Safer Care Victoria
03 9096 1546

Page last updated: 17 Dec 2020

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