Allied health leadership for safety and quality

Dr Patricia Bradd1,2, Professor Joanne Travaglia1

1Clinical Excellence Commission, St Leonards, Australia, 2University of Technology Sydney, Haymarket, Australia

Allied health leaders have a role in the clinical governance of healthcare through the facilitation of systematic and integrated approaches to ensuring standards of clinical responsibility and accountability in order to improve the safety and quality of patient care¹. Quality and safety, along with leadership, are considered core competencies for allied health seniors.

Delivering safe, quality care within complex healthcare systems requires effective and committed leadership. Although allied health leaders have a role in clinical governance and the provision of safe and high-quality care, information about allied health quality and safety in the literature is limited. An Australian study² found allied health leaders have an opportunity to expand their influence on the health system and to drive clinical innovation and service delivery improvement, thereby enhancing the quality of patient care.

This presentation will outline the allied health leadership mandate for safety. It will describe the current health context for quality, safety and governance and will present key safety concepts of relevance to allied health leaders. The presentation will explore the role of allied health professionals in improving safety, enhancing healthcare quality and reducing preventable harm. It will also discuss the leadership strategies for improving healthcare safety.

¹ Braithwaite, J & Travaglia, J. (2008) An overview of clinical governance policies, practices and initiatives. Australian Health Review, 32, 10-22.

² Bradd, P, Travaglia, J & Hayen A (2017) Allied health leadership in New South Wales: a study of perceptions and priorities of allied health leaders. Australian Health Review 42, 316-320.


Trish Bradd is the Director, Patient Safety at the Clinical Excellence Commission, a leadership and strategic role that leads and directs the NSW Patient Safety Program and provides strategic oversight for patient safety and quality across the NSW Health system. Joanne Travaglia is an internationally recognised, widely published Professor of Health Services Management at the University of Technology Sydney.

Together, Jo and Trish have been working across their organisations in areas of common interest, including allied health leadership, governance and culture. Both are passionate about healthcare quality and safety, especially to vulnerable groups.

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