Fundamental change to the way healthcare services engage with and are shaped by patients…
Engaging Communities Staffordshire is a radical approach to improving the way NHS and Social Care services can genuinely be influenced by the people who use them. It also means more holistic use of information and data to keep services safer and potentially identify failures earlier.
It’s part of the fundamental wider changes which need to happen to bring the many diverse, often autonomous, Trusts and bodies which make up Staffordshire’s healthcare sector closer together into a more seamless, simpler and better joined up system.
Historically, the primary reasons for the tragic failures at Stafford Hospital were poor frontline care and weak management safeguards. But another contributing factor was the poor engagement with patients and the wider public and an absence of good quality holistic information and complaints handling.
I’d like to see the new independent body dealing with complaints instead of the organisations being complained about doing it. It can’t be right that poachers and gamekeepers work together!
A cross organisational approach to public engagement and consultation, independent handling of complaints and making the most effective use of information and data by collating it together in one place. Those are the principles around Engaging Communities Staffordshire. If they had been followed previously it may well have resulted in the systemic failures at the Mid Staffs Trust being identified sooner.
The change I want to see means a fundamental shakeup of engagement and consultation activities on healthcare services across Staffordshire. It needs all the Trusts, Hospitals, Social Care and other institutions involved to embrace the need for change.
Reducing unnecessary and costly duplication is a useful consequence, but it is the real opportunity to improve the effectiveness, responsiveness, quality and safety of healthcare services that is so important and must not be missed.
I’m delighted that the whole healthcare sector in Staffordshire have agreed that Engaging Communities Staffordshire is the way forward. It requires a continued determination to abandon organisational ‘preciousness’ and a focus on shared outcomes and a whole sector approach.
The new independent community led body will become a legal entity in its own right early in 2012.
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