Involving staff with quality improvement initiatives

NHS Employers has published Staff involvement, quality improvement and staff engagement:  the missing links.

This briefing aims to help managers and leaders understand more about how involving staff with quality improvement initiatives can have a significant impact on staff engagement levels.

Involving staff in quality improvement decision-making, planning and delivery has always been a good idea. However, at a time of unprecedented pressures and financial challenges it is an issue of the highest importance.

This new briefing explores the benefits, approaches and working examples of how organisations are involving staff with their quality improvement activities.

Read more about staff engagement initiatives across the NHS here.

Competition policy in five European countries

This working paper explores how policies affecting competition have been implemented and promoted in health systems in five countries: France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal | Health Foundation

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  • In conventional markets, customers are attracted to particular suppliers by a more appealing combination of price and quality. But in health care, patients are usually insulated from costs and may find it difficult to judge quality due to information asymmetries and their infrequent use of services.
  • This means that the question – what do we expect or want of competition? – is not so easily answered in health care settings, and lessons from other sectors might not apply.

Key points:

  • Proximity to the health care provider, rather than quality, remains the key driver of patient choice.
  • There is potential tension between stimulating quality competition and controlling expenditure because restrictions on hospital treatments imply that money does not follow the patient, and hospitals may react by making access more difficult or letting their waiting times increase.
  • Information for assessing proposed hospital mergers requires improvement, particularly information on quality.
  • There is limited scope for further expansion in the use of private providers to treat NHS patients given the current focus on controlling expenditure.
  • The economic rationale for controlling entry of providers into general practice is unclear.
  • Selective contracting for patients with chronic and multiple conditions to reduce fragmentation of care raises concerns for competition and regulation. This is because of the long-term nature of the implied contracts and the restricted pool of potential providers willing to bid for these contracts.

Read the working paper here

Learning from Scotland’s NHS

The Nuffield Trust has published Learning from Scotland’s NHS.

This report aims to identify how health care in Scotland is different, where its approach seems to solve problems being faced elsewhere in the UK, and whether that approach could be transplanted to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  It also assesses whether there are areas where Scotland could learn from its peers.

The full report can be downloaded here

Digital literacy important for delivering better & safer care

Our TEL Programme is excited to be working in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) on some of our digital literacy work | HEE

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Image source: HEE

The RCN has endorsed our work to date and are working with us on promoting the widest use across the health and care landscape of our definition of digital literacy and the digital capabilities that sit within that definition. Our latest document‘Improving digital literacy’, published today, explains what digital literacy is and why it is important.

Ian Cumming, our Chief Executive, and Janet Davies, RCN’s Chief Executive and General Secretary, have written the foreword for the joint document which outlines:

  • Why digital capabilities are so important in the provision of the best care
  • Why the right digital knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes are important and relevant to each and all of us working in health and care
  • What those digital capabilities are
  • Work undertaken to date on the digital literacy programme of work.

The document also highlights the RCN’s focus on developing digital capabilities in the nursing and midwifery workforce and why this will bring tangible benefits to citizens and patients.

Improving the management of digital government

Improving the management of digital government argues that the digitisation of public services in the UK is happening too slowly | Institute for Government

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It says that appointing a minister responsible for digital government would help drive change and advance standards. Digital improvements would make government cheaper, more effective and more secure. The report points to the recent NHS cyberattack as an example of the fragility in some systems being used in the public sector.

The report warns that the Government Digital Service (GDS), the Cabinet Office unit responsible for leading digital transformation of government, faces resistance from many corners of Whitehall. Without a strong minister in charge, GDS is not able to drive digital improvements in a way that meets citizens’ expectations. It sets standards for digital government, but these need to be improved and extended throughout the civil service, and with IT contractors.

The report also makes several recommendations for both GDS and Whitehall departments on how they can work better together. The Government needs to organise services around people’s needs and to urgently clarify which system citizens should use to securely identify themselves online.

 

New models of care in practice

The NHS Confederation has published briefings on new models of care and how they are working in practice:

Driving improvement: case studies from eight NHS trusts

Reviewing the culture of NHS trusts and addressing disconnects between clinicians and managers within the organisation is key to improving care, a new CQC report has revealed. | Care Quality Commission | via National Health Executive

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The CQC has published ‘Driving improvement: case studies from eight NHS trusts’.

The document examines how a number of different trusts improved care and subsequently their CQC rating by making simple changes to how services were run.

During its study, the inspectorate found that engaging with staff and allowing for open and honest conversations was vital to making improvements to care delivery.

The CQC also discovered that successful trusts tended to make their chief executives and senior staff more visible by having them spend more time on the ‘shop floor’ – meeting staff and setting up regular channels of communication. The report also highlights the increasing challenges faced by trusts.

Read more at National Health Executive

Full report: ‘Driving improvement: case studies from eight NHS trusts’.