Quality in Healthcare winners announced

Released 06/12/2018

Joint media release: Meegan Fitzharris MLA and Shane Rattenbury MLA

For the first time in 16 years, a medical student has been recognised as the Overall Winner of the Quality in Healthcare ACT Awards 2018.

ANU Medical Student Joshua Ahearn’s work on the impact of the inhaled Nitric Oxide (iNO) stewardship program in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Canberra Health Services, took top prize.

iNO is the most common, though expensive, therapy for a lung condition (persistent pulmonary hypertension) in newborns that results in low oxygen levels.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Meegan Fitzharris said the awards recognise leadership and innovation across five key areas: person-centred; safety; effectiveness; efficiency; and a student category.

“ANU Medical Student Joshua Ahearn’s work showed that a stewardship program can be safely implemented in any Neonatal Intensive Care Unit leading to increased compliance and an overall safe reduction in iNO usage and cost,” said Minister Fitzharris.

“Mr Ahearn’s work and that of the other winners has highlighted how health sector staff and up and coming researchers in the ACT are dedicated to improving healthcare and service delivery.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all award finalists for 2018 and thank them for the work they do to enhance patient centred health care in the ACT.”

Minister for Mental Health Shane Rattenbury congratulated the Mental Health Consumer Network as the winners of the Person Centred category.

”My Rights, My Decisions is a critical resource that supports consumers to express their views and preferences about their mental health treatment and care. The ACT’s Mental Health Act 2015 has a strong focus on empowering consumers, and this program is a great example of translating policy into effective practice on the ground,” Minister Rattenbury said.

A selection panel of health professionals from public and private health services and consumer representatives judged the submitted projects.

All category winners include:

Person Centred:

  • ACT Mental Health Consumer Network: My Rights, My Decisions Program.

Safety (Joint Winners):

  • Renal Service, Canberra Health Services: Maintaining patient and staff safety during practice change project.The Paediatric and Adolescent Wards, Canberra Health Services: Reduction of Peripheral Intravenous Cannula serious harm events in the Paediatric Unit.


  • Women Youth and Children Community Health Program, Canberra Health Services: Transition to e-referrals to enhance clinical handover.

Efficiency (Joint Winners):

  • Canberra Hospital Stroke Unit, Canberra Health Services: Nurse-led triage of stroke calls improves time to diagnosis, treatment and admission in patients with acute stroke.
  • Social Work, Rehabilitation and Community Care, Canberra Health Services: Guardianship and Management of Property Tribunal Hearings at the Canberra Hospital.

Student & Overall Winner:

  • Joshua Ahearn, Medical Student, Australian National University: Impact of inhaled Nitric Oxide stewardship program in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Research Project.

Media note: Opportunities to interview winners can be arranged through Health Media. Please contact: healthmedia@act.gov.au  or call  0403 344 080.

- Statement ends -

Section: Meegan Fitzharris, MLA | Media Releases

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