A comprehensive external review of Isle of Man health services is now complete, with the publication of the eighth and final report by the West Midlands Quality Review Service.
A series of in-depth reviews has been carried out over the past five years into all areas of health care, spanning acute hospital services, mental health and community services. Each review involved a visit by specialist assessors lasting several days, during which both staff on the ground and patients were invited to give their views.
Each visit has been followed by a detailed report to the Department’s senior managers, highlighting areas of good practice and where improvements are needed. Findings have been noted and shared with colleagues in respective services and all immediate and urgent follow-up action taken where required.
Among highlights in its latest review, the West Midlands team congratulated the Island’s Air Ambulance service for its ‘incredibly positive ‘can do’ attitude’. Members of the team are described as highly motivated, professional, flexible, dedicated and resourceful. Staffing is flagged as a concern in the long term, as most of the team volunteer their services alongside other duties. Nevertheless, the report says the operation can boast a ‘truly multi-professional team’.
Ten areas of good practice in the Island’s emergency ambulance service are cited, ranging from the ‘pivotal’ good management of stroke patients by ambulance crews, to recognition of sepsis symptoms and facilities on vehicles. Reviewers agreed infection control practices had been tightened during a restructure of the service, which is now under the leadership of Emergency Department consultant Dr Gareth Davies.
Reviewers praised the leadership and organisation of acute cardiac services at Noble’s Hospital, noting a commitment to staff training and professional links with centres of excellence in the UK. The team noted strong support from local charities such as the British Heart Foundation.
Elsewhere, many areas of good practice were flagged up among a raft of therapy services reviewed, which are said to work to ‘an extremely comprehensive’ policy document with teams actively engaged in the quality and assurance process. Therapists are described as passionate, caring, enthusiastic, hard-working and willing to go the extra mile.
Minister for Health and Social Care David Ashford said:
‘It was important that all areas of our health service were opened up for rigorous professional scrutiny. This latest report brings the current round to an end, so we now have a full picture. The review process is vital to ensure we develop safe, high quality services to benefit the population, and we have learned a great deal. Essentially, the reviews have told us where we do well and where we need to make improvements, and are proving an invaluable tool to drive positive change in our health service.
‘The aim has been to ensure what we offer complies with quality standards you would expect to see anywhere in the United Kingdom. We have listened to the reviewers, starting work streams after each visit in line with their guidance. Updating, enhancing and auditing our services is an ongoing process - some improvements will be achieved quickly, others will take time.'
Minister Ashford concluded:
'There have been many very pleasing comments from the West Midlands team, who have paid tribute to the dedication and professionalism of our staff in each report. I echo that praise and thank staff for their tremendous commitment and effort every day.’
An overview of the eight reviews carried out by the West Midlands Quality Review Service, outlining progress made across the board, will be presented to Tynwald later this year.