A revised programme for external peer reviews of the Island’s health service by the West Midlands Quality Review Service (WMQRS) has been published, with two key changes. The timetable will now extend to March 2017 and the groupings of service areas have been reconfigured to allow reviews to take place over a period of several days as opposed to one or two days.
The changes have been made following a pause in the review programme – announced in December 2014 – to evaluate its first 12 months of operation.
Minister for Health and Social Care, Howard Quayle MHK, said:
“The Department is resolutely committed to progressing with the external peer reviews of our health services. The scale and scope of these reviews was something very new for the Department and its staff and we felt it was right to take stock of the process after the first year.
“An enormous amount of preparatory work is required ahead of each review by both management and frontline staff and all whilst having to deliver our services as usual. It became clear that this was placing a great deal of pressure on staff, who found that one review quickly rolled into the next. This meant that they were unable to focus their time and resources on beginning to address the findings from the reviews.
“The new timeline ensures that there is a longer period between each review while also extending the reviews over a period of several days. Whilst peer reviews lasting one to two days are normal practice, given that multiple services are being reviewed at the same time, it makes sense to slow the pace and intensity.”
To date, four reviews have been carried out by the WMQRS with four accompanying reports published. To address the findings and recommendations to date, as well as those still to come, the Department has developed a Quality Improvement Programme for health services.
The Minister continued:
“Getting the reviews completed is one thing, but the vital work is addressing the recommendations. The establishment of a new senior leadership team for the Department means that we now have individuals in place to lead this work. We have a dedicated programme manager and six work streams overseen by a programme board which meets monthly to monitor progress.
“There will be a great deal of work involved in addressing the recommendations, but we now have the systems in place to take this forward in earnest. There won’t necessarily be easy answers to all of the issues, but there is a strong desire to bring about the necessary changes. In addition we remain grateful to the Treasury for the Health Inspection Fund, established in 2014, which was topped up to £4.1 million as part of this year’s Budget. The fund will assist us with one-off costs, such as the introduction of the recently announced Patientrack system – an early example of the Government’s new Digital Strategy in action.”
The work streams are as follows:
- Cancer services
- Staffing, training and development
- Public, patient and carer involvement and information
- Policies, guidelines and procedures
- Integrated working
- IT, data and information.
A copy of the revised programme can be found here.