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Penultimate healthcare review published

Thursday, 8 February 2018

The latest external review of the Island’s health services has been published.

A team from the West Midlands Quality Review Service (WMQRS) inspected a number of contrasting areas during a three-day visit in October 2017:

  • Musculo-Skeletal Patient Pathway
    • Care of People with Chronic Pain
    • Care of People with Drug and alcohol Problems
    • Screening Services

A less formal workshop was held with healthcare staff responsible for Transfers from Acute Hospital Care and Intermediate Care, and Caring for Older People Living with Frailty.

Minister for Health and Social Care David Ashford MHK has welcomed the report, which details where health services are compliant with quality standards, and indicates areas for further attention.

Commenting on the findings, Mr Ashford said:

‘This review gives us much to be proud of.  It is very pleasing to see good practice highlighted in a number of areas, and our committed, caring and compassionate staff impressed reviewers once again, their dedication shining through in the report.’

We’re told that throughout the services reviewed, there is evidence of ‘caring staff, lovely facilities and vibrant community engagement’. That opening remark is much deserved.

Mr Ashford added:

‘However, there are areas of concern too, and in that respect the report will be a catalyst for change. To ensure we have the health service our population demands and deserves, effort to improve standards will be required from staff throughout our complex system.’

Highlights of the report include praise for teams caring for people with musculo-skeletal problems, described as ‘friendly, caring, open and helpful’ and ‘clearly committed to improving the services provided.’ 

Reviewers said the appointment of three new consultants in the emergency department ‘had brought new energy and dynamism to the care of patients with trauma’ while ‘a very good competence framework’ was in place for advancing the skills of orthopaedic nurses.

Good practice is highlighted in the care given to those with chronic pain, with praise for ‘the smooth pathway of care’ offered to patients referred to the Walton Centre in Merseyside.

The Drug and Alcohol Team is noted as ‘highly committed, well respected and well led’,  providing good liaison with children, young people and families, where a ‘proactive’ approach and ‘particularly holistic view of the support required’ are singled out for praise.

An overview of the Island’s cervical, breast and bowel screening services concludes there is effective multi-disciplinary working, provided by ‘a cohesive team of staff.’

Three immediate risks were highlighted in the report, all of which have been addressed, and actions reported to WMQRS.

Governance is of concern in three areas reviewed, while other aspects for consideration include referral procedures, discharge arrangements, absence cover and IT systems.

An independent review of the Department of Health and Social Care agreed by Tynwald in January, will take a long-term view of services and funding, and is expected to address many issues raised in the report.  

The Department is currently implementing a comprehensive IT strategy across the health service. Digital Future will bring more efficient ways of working, from electronic health records and automated prescribing, to digital clinical noting and paperless assessments. The project integrates core systems, improving user access and enhancing patient care.

The CARE Qualities programme launched by DHSC in late 2017 takes a different approach to driving up standards. It embraces a set of core values designed to improve service to the public, enhance staff development and set the bar for effective leadership.

The Department is committed to ensuring CARE principles are intrinsic to everything it does, and are swiftly embedded in health and social care culture. The project represents a long-term vision for improvement across the board, and a ‘toolkit’ currently being developed will show staff how they can introduce positive change in their everyday work. 

The West Midlands team will conduct its 8th and final quality review in March 2018.

The latest report is available to read in the Downloadable Documents section at Department of Health and Social Care.

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