Safety1st Reaches Quarter Million Milestone

11 Nov 2019

South Island DHBs have recently reached the quarter million mark for recorded events on electronic incident risk management application, Safety1st. Safety1st supports users to improve processes to prevent harm and errors, improve safety, and manage risk more effectively – from identification through to resolution.

Director Quality and Patient Safety, Sue Wood, says Safety1st has proven to be a valuable tool for analysing performance and reducing harm across our system. “Quarter of a million entries is pretty impressive and gives us an equally impressive bank of data that continues to drive improvement. Not all of those who have contributed data fully appreciate the difference it makes. Having embedded Safety 1st as an established tool for the analysis and management of risk throughout the South Island, I’m sure it won’t be long before we hit the half-million mark.”

New Emergency Response Guide


07 Nov 2019

South Island Alliance Emergency Planning Coordinator Barry Simpson with the Emergency Response flipchart.

A new staff guide for emergency response procedures is being distributed in aged residential care facilities, pharmacies and GP clinics throughout the South Island to assist with consistent regional and local emergency planning.

The Emergency Response flipchart contains information and step-by-step instructions for staff to follow during a range of emergencies, from basic life support, natural disasters and fire, to bomb threats, utility failure and dealing with hazardous materials. Originally developed in conjunction with Nelson Marlborough DHB and the former Canterbury Rural PHO in 2009, it has been used in general practices and Nelson Marlborough hospitals.

The guide has been updated by the South Island Alliance and will be distributed more widely across the South Island health sector over the next three months. South Island Alliance Emergency Planning Coordinator Barry Simpson says it now covers all the main risks that have the potential to affect service delivery. “The information is really valuable and every practice should have one. The flipchart can also be personalised to your facility or individual organisation.”

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Improving Emergency Outcomes At Aged Care Facilities


07 Nov 2019

South Island Alliance’s Elizabeth Lear of the Aged Care Monitoring Service, Barry Simpson, Emergency Planning Coordinator, and Team Leader Matthew Wood.

A new online emergency training course for staff at aged residential care facilities aims to improve outcomes for residents during emergencies.

The course, Coordinated Incident Management System (CIMS) for Aged Residential Care (ARC) facilities, was developed by the South Island Alliance after a need for emergency training within aged residential care was identified following regional trial evacuations.

To increase awareness of incident management in ARC facilities, the South Island Alliance’s Emergency Planning Coordinator Barry Simpson and Elizabeth Lear of the Aged Care Monitoring Service provided a number of scenario-based training workshops for service providers around the South Island.

“During the trial evacuations, we noticed an obvious gap in emergency training for ARC facilities – especially since there is often a constant high turnover of staff in this area,” says Barry. “So, we decided an e-learning tool would be a far more efficient and cost-effective way of reaching larger audiences and to meet the needs of the vast number of rural and geographically spread providers.”

The module is based on teaching key aspects of emergency planning using CIMS, as well as business continuity planning. CIMS is used by all government agencies and also many non-government organisations. The course, designed with a focus on staff who speak English as a second language, provides an introduction and overview of the CIMS structure and process.

The course is available through online learning platform healthLearn and also includes useful resources and an interactive quiz. “We hope to enhance outcomes for residents at aged care facilities across the South Island, through helping staff prepare for emergency situations and utilising consistent protocols and guidelines across sectors and service providers.”

Improving Healthcare With Safety1st

27 Feb 2017

Over almost two years (from 1 January 2015 to 30 November 2016), 58,157 forms were entered into Safety1st, the South Island DHBs incident risk management system. These forms provide valuable information that can be used to inform and support local improvements. Below are a few examples of how South Island DHBs are using this data to make improvements in their local areas. 

Patient falls targeted with Safety1st at Southern DHB

Planning ahead to prevent patient falls is a more streamlined process for Southern DHB, using integrated incident and risk management system, Safety1st.

Kim Caffell, Patient Safety and Policy Advisor, says a lot of work has been done using the data from an organisational perspective, since the system was implemented. “We use Safety1st data extracted each month for falls to populate a template, which I update each month and send out to staff. This gives each ward/unit a view of the total falls for their area, as well as the total falls for each DHB since March 2015. It also details the numbers for the previous month, date of the last assessment, falls with and without injury, the time of day each fall happened, and the contributory factors.”

She says one of the most significant uses of the system is being able to show staff what organisational data looks like. “If I have any discussions around falls, I will usually ask – when do you think the falls occur? And they would often say ‘at night or first thing in the morning.’ But Safety1st data categorically shows that falls are pretty evenly spread across the day and there are some months that the morning shift is the biggest problem for our fall patients.”

The system is starting to dispel myths and has inspired staff to think outside the square, Kim says. “We then have a discussion about the data – I ask, what can you do with that information? How can you do things differently? It’s about getting them to think about what the data is telling them – it’s not about placing blame. The data is there to tell a story and help identify opportunities for improvement.”

Streamlined system supports improvements at West Coast DHB

For West Coast DHB, one of the greatest advantages of Safety1st is the ability to provide evidence to support progress and quality improvement.

Vicki Piner, Safety1st Administrator, says when you can see multiple incidents pointing towards a particular theme, it’s easier to make effective change. “Safety1st is vastly superior to our previous manual system, as it’s a central repository. We are able to interrogate the system to provide real evidence supporting our incident claims, which before were little bits of disparate information, and sometimes anecdotal.” 

Recently, the DHB has been able to interrogate the system to determine how many employee incidents are related to manual handling technique/use of equipment, she says. “Safety1st has provided evidence from across the broad spectrum of WCDHB services and has identified where training needs to be targeted. This has a real benefit to our staff’s health and safety.”

Safety1st is used across both primary and secondary care services provided on the West Coast, which means any incident overlaps can be dealt with promptly. Rolling out the system across both sectors has enabled a more streamlined approach to service delivery between primary and secondary care, Vicki says. “Incidents once investigated by the manager of the area in which it occurred are then brought to a multi-disciplinary incident review group and reviewed.  Representatives from all service areas are present at these meetings, which means we can often look at where we can improve the patient journey through the whole health system.  It also provides us with an opportunity to put a timely solution into place.” 

Safety1st has been well received, she says, as staff submitting files can see that they are contributing to effective change.  “It also makes auditing easier. The information we get is backed by evidence, which shows where we need to put our focus to fine tune how we use our resources. Staff really appreciate it and are always eager to have meaningful data to back up what was previously just a bit of anecdotal evidence here, there and everywhere.”

Rich, timely data increases efficiency at Canterbury DHB

The timeliness of Safety1st ensures a clear snapshot of what’s happening at any given time, says Vicki Dent, Canterbury DHB Clinical Manager for the Quality and Patient Safety team. “In terms of having real data, it means we can see instantly which areas we need to focus on.”

She says when concerns are raised at unit level regarding the challenges raised by acuity, it is visible straight away from the data. “As soon as a staff member enters an incident, the clinical and charge nurse managers, the Service Leadership teams and the Quality and Safety team can see it. We have a much, much better sense of how the incident levels are looking, what’s happening for staff, and what’s going on from a patient safety perspective.”

Previous to the roll-out of Safety1st, staff were required to fill out an incident form or staff accident form, which was then submitted to their manager, and investigated. “The information would then be sent to the Quality and Safety team, who would review it and enter it into a database,” Vicki says. “The whole process would probably put us about three months behind in terms of knowing what’s happening right now. The data we pull off now is so much richer and the timeliness of the information is of huge benefit.”


Form type


Behaviour and Safety






Medication and IV Fluids


Provision of Care




Table timeline: 1 January 2015 to 30 November 2016


About Safety1st

Safety1st is an online incident risk management system created specifically for healthcare. It supports users to improve processes to prevent harm and errors, improve safety, and manage risk more effectively – from identification through to resolution. The incident management component of the application is now in use across the five South Island DHBs. 




Safety1st Survey

19 Aug 2015

From Monday 17th August all South Island DHB staff are invited to complete a brief survey about the Safety1st e-risk management system to help capture honest, valuable feedback on their experience of using the application to date. The focus is on the incident reporting (including staff incidents) at this stage.

The survey has been designed to highlight where the system is working well, areas and opportunities for improvement and simple local and regional level changes that could help optimise Safety1st for all users.

The online survey should take approximately five minutes to complete, and is open for two weeks (deadline 28th August). During that time all staff who have used Safety1st are being urged to share their thoughts and experiences of the system.

The Safety1st Control Group wants to hear from everybody who has used Safety1st as they need your feedback to help take use of the system to the next level. 

The Safety1st Control Group is a work stream of the Quality and Safety group within the South Island Alliance, commissioned to undertake a six month health check of Safety1st. This survey is the first step within this process and will inform the next application upgrade.

To enter the survey click on one of the following links:

All Submitters (staff members who log an incident) click here:

All File Managers (staff members who manage the incident once it has been logged) click here:


  • Safety1st is an integrated online risk and incident management application that was configured for all South Island DHBs to support better patient safety outcomes and reduce risk for patients, staff and visitors across the region.
  • The application enables collection and reporting on data at a local and regional level. It has the capability to develop incident reports electronically that are comprehensive and meaningful, and help support a safety culture and service improvement across the wider South Island.
  • The application is now operational within all South Island DHBs.

Safety 1st Roll Out Going Well 3 Dhbs Live

01 Apr 2015

The roll out of Safety 1s, the new integrated e-risk management system, is progressing well according to the Quality and Safety Service Level Alliance, with three South Island DHBs now having launched the system to staff across their organisation and at another, more areas gaining access to the system every day.

Canterbury DHB was the first to launch the new system in February and is planning to be in The Princess Margaret Hospital, Burwood Hospital, Hillmorton, Ashburton and rural sites, and Community and Public Health by Easter 2015.  Christchurch Hospital campus planning is underway.

Southern DHB went live with the new system on 3rd March, and it is now active in all DHB sites. Nelson Marlborough is the most recent DHB to launch the system to its staff, going live on 9th March. West Coast DHB is planned to go live late March and South Canterbury is planning for 1 July.

The “Go Live” of Safety 1st is viewed as an important progressive step for the South Island Health Services, as they redesign and align the way in which they collect vital information on incidents and patient feedback. This information will then be put to its most important use,  improving patient and staff safety and improving the experience of care.

Feedback received from project teams to date suggests that the introduction of the system is being well received by staff, and complaints or problems with the system are minor and are being swiftly managed. The landmark project is being led by the Quality and Safety Service Level Alliance (Q&SSLA), whose members represent each of the five South Island DHBs and together are planning and managing implementation and roll out to each DHB.

The successful progress of the roll out is a testament to the huge effort and careful planning undertaken by project teams at regional and DHB level says Mary Gordon, Chair of the Quality and Safety SLA, “over 400 staff from the South Island have come together to help bring the vision of a regional, integrated, electronic risk management system to life. It has been a huge, and challenging journey and we are delighted that we can now see staff interacting with the new system, which means better reporting, and managing of risk and better patient outcomes over time. Well done everyone!”