Falklands : Audit Encourages Falklands' KEMH
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 16.04.2011 (Article Archived on 30.04.2011)
Honourable Members have been informed of the recent external Healthcare audit which was undertaken within KEMH.
AUDIT ENCOURAGES KEMH
By J. Brock (FINN)
Honourable Members have been informed of the recent external Healthcare audit which was undertaken within KEMH. Key risks and areas of potential improvement, and how the department intends to continue addressing these over the coming months have been identified.
Following his appointment in January 2010, the Director of Health and Education initiated a wide-ranging review of the Health Service in order to assess the current level of healthcare provision, with the main aim to identify areas of good practice and ensure these were continued and disseminate as appropriate, whilst also identifying those areas in which improvements could be made.
To this end a series of both internal and external audits were arranged, looking at at different areas. An internal one looked at the management structure (which reported to Executive Council in August 2010). The external audits to date have primarily focused on the clinical elements of the healthcare service.
Firstly, the widest-ranging external audit was performed in October 2010 and was termed an ‘advisory healthcare assurance’ audit; and was performed by senior clinical staff from the Ministry of Defence Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ). A team from PJHQ had already undertaken an audit in 2008 and they were invited to update this.
In preparation for the audit, the Health Service undertook a self-assessment using the Defence Medical Services (DMS) Healthcare Governance Assurance Assessment tool. This formal assessment system is based directly on the UK Government’s Care Quality Commission’s Healthcare Standards. Eight key areas are included in the self-assessment and subsequent review by the auditors, these are: Safety, Clinical and Cost Effectiveness, Governance, Patient Focus, Accessible and Responsive Care, Care Environment and Amenities, Public Health and Occupational Health.
However, Social Services were not included in the audit but this is to be undertaken in future assessments.
The report highlighted the dedication and team spirit of all members of staff in their pursuit to deliver quality care to their patients. It also noted that for such a remote and isolated community, the provision of healthcare services is impressively wide.
Issues and actions identified mainly stemmed from two key areas. Firstly, they highlighted the importance of and need to identify and agree relevant standards (and potentially laws) that are to be worked to in a number of key clinical and governance areas. The auditing team recognised that wholesale adoption of NHS or UK standards is not always possible or practical in the islands, but that realistic standards that fit the local environment need to be agreed in areas where ambiguity may currently exist.
Secondly, the audit emphasised the need for increased longer-term planning over a 10 to 20 year time horizon. The audit did not provide any clear guidance as to the direction this plan should take, other than to emphasise some areas of development that require thought (e.g. the move towards specialisation across the medical profession). This issue ties in with the first in that longer-term planning with regards to standards and policies is also required.
The audit report recommends that: Honourable Members take note of the summarised audit report attached as Appendix A; and that the general conclusions of the report stating that the Health Service offers a high standard of individually-focused care are noted. And in addition that Honourable Members note the identified risks and areas for improvement, and that they in principle support the work to address these issues.