In 2010 the Government commissioned Robert Francis QC to report on failings of care at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. His report is lengthy and critical of the care provided at Mid-Staffs. Stories of patients left in their own faeces, so thirsty they had to drink from flower vases and suffering from inadequate pain relief. Worse still it became clear these were not isolated incidents but due to the culture of Mid-Staff, which had become so damaged these occurrences had become normal practice.
One of the overwhelming messages of the report was that the concept of the culture of the Trust (and perhaps the wider NHS) needs to change. Too often the system makes it easier to comply with or ignore poor care rather than highlight it. Francis wants this to change and so do we at NHS Kernow. NHS Kernow have reviewed the findings and recommendations from the Francis report and is working to ensure that they are embedded within our own work and that of our providers to help avoid a repeat of the poor care given and received in Mid-Staffs. Below are the commitments we make to help towards this goal.
Commitment one: To listen to our patients. We are committed to working with patients and other members of the public to ensure their feedback is used to develop local services. We will work with members of the public when making our commissioning decisions and take their views into account before producing and publishing our strategy on inclusion and engagement. We will actively involve members of the public in the decision making process including giving the wider public a chance to ask questions at our governing body meetings.
Commitment two: To develop capacity to deliver high quality care. We will ensure patients have access to high quality care by monitoring the standards of our commissioned services. We will actively share information with providers so that we can quickly identify and act on any issues that need to be addressed. When we commission (plan and fund) services we will make sure we use the latest clinical evidence and patient feedback.
Commitment three: To develop our Governing Body and our organisation. We are committed to being open and transparent in the work we do and to meet the contractual requirements for the NHS ‘Duty of Candour’ which means being honest with people when things go wrong. We will actively support our staff and our board members to question any decisions we make if they feel they compromise on our commitments to quality of care. We will make it easier for staff, as well as members of the public to raise concerns and to have those concerns investigated. We will ensure that our clinical leaders have the support they need to implement changes that improve care for our patients and communities.
Commitment four: To work with our providers. We will set up regular meetings with key staff at our providers including directors of nursing and medical directors to share best practice and discuss any issues. We will continue to work with quality managers in our providers to maintain and improve standards. We will look into findings of local and national reviews and surveys to implement changes where we need to. We will work with all our providers ranging from the large NHS trusts to smaller independent healthcare providers to help ensure the highest quality care and services are being provided.