The aim of this paper is to demonstrate a method for identifying policy options for reducing adverse events in Australia’s hospitals, which could have been adopted, but was not adopted, in the wake of the landmark 1995 ‘Quality in Australian Health Care’ study, and to indicate the lapse time before these measures could be expected to have a major effect. The study used a quasi Delphi technique that first elicited options for reducing adverse events from an expert panel and then collated and returned them for re-consideration and comment. Completed responses from both stages were obtained from 20 experts selected on the basis of their expertise, position and publications in the area of adverse events and quality assurance. Forty-one options were identified with an average lapse time of 3.5 years. Hospital regulation had the least delay (2.4) years, and out of hospital information the greatest (6.4 years). Following identification of the magnitude of the problem of adverse events in the ‘Quality in Australian Health Care’ study a more rapid response was possible than occurred. Viable options for reducing adverse events remain.