17 September 2021
Today, 17 September, is the annual UN Observed World Patient Safety Day. Patient Safety is a global health priority. On St Helena the Health Service Directorate strives to maintain patient safety and is committed to delivering good quality and safe care for all our patients.
As previously announced, a Transformation Programme is being put in place for Health Services on the Island. This recognises that there is more that can be done to improve our services for patients.
The Programme will seek to address a number of challenges and issues that have been and continue to be faced by the Health Service Directorate, through focusing on these key priorities:
- Priority 1 – Safe
Ensure all users, staff and visitors to our services and within the community are safe, protected from abuse and avoidable harm
- Priority 2 – Effective
Ensure the prevention of ill health is at the core of all of our work and that care, treatment and support for people using our services achieves good outcomes, prevents ill health, promotes a good quality of life and is evidence based where possible
- Priority 3 – Caring
Ensure all services involves and treats people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect
- Priority 4 – Responsive
Ensure all services are organised so that they meet people’s needs and are streamlined to prevent repetition or duplication
- Priority 5 – Well led
Improve understanding of how effectively resources are used to provide good quality, efficient and sustainable health and care services for our population.
As part of this we expect to deliver:
- Safe, good quality health services
- Improved patient experiences and outcomes
- Reduced incidences of long term conditions
- Improved culture and wellbeing of staff
- An effective, well-led management team.
A continuous priority for the Health Service is resilience and ensuring that there are sufficient and well trained staff to carry out the services needed.
Portfolio Director of Health & Social Care, Michele Wheeler, explains:
“We want to ensure our services are safe and clinicians are fit to practice. Many Overseas Territories, St Helena included, only have one specialist of each profession which leads to problems of ensuring resilience but added to this our resources are limited so we need to make sure staff are well trained, achieve their continued professional development and we continuously look at how and where we use our staff most effectively.
“To ensure the service is adequately equipped and able to respond effectively and rapidly, while keeping nurses on the wards, we are looking to recruit two paramedics, with a plan in place to develop local successors. We are also in the process of recruiting a Chief Medical Officer and Chief Allied Health Professional Lead. Our recently appointed Chief Nursing Officer, Sophia Abrahams, started on Monday, 13 September. Sophia will be managing a combined nursing service covering hospital and community services. A Patient and Client Liaison Manager post is also being established locally which will provide a direct line to the Portfolio and will support queries and complaints and be there also to receive positive feedback from members of the community and patients to ensure the Health Service is more responsive.”
Several transformation projects are included within the Programme that will help us to improve our patient care. One of these projects will review and assess all clinical services, the first being the Orthopaedic Service. Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr Wyatt, is due on the next flight and while his priority will be to provide orthopaedic services, he also has a key role in identifying new ways of working across the care pathway, ensuring processes work efficiently and policies and procedures are improved, implemented and embedded in working practices.
Public Health England has also kindly agreed to undertake a needs assessment which will provide a baseline of needs on the Island. Following this we will be able to develop a clinical strategy to determine what services we need to provide and where best to provide them, including on and off-Island solutions and then to use this information to identify the appropriate mix of staffing.
“Changes of management, difficulty recruiting to some posts and staff turnover have led to a lack of consistency across the service. We are re-organising how the Health Service is managed, increasing corporate and clinical governance arrangements and bringing forward the integration of Health & Social Care to ensure our patients, clients and residents get better co-ordinated care. This includes GPs attending the multi-disciplinary team meetings, enhanced discharge planning and joint training for carers in Social Care and health care assistants on caring for our patients, clients and residents.”
The Health Service will also focus on preventing illness and promoting health through an education campaign for the local community. This will need all of us to take care of our own health by changing our lifestyle, eating more healthily, exercising more, managing our long term conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, to choosing whether we need to go to the hospital or whether an over-the-counter medicine can treat minor illnesses.
Regular updates on the Programme will be provided. Further information can be found here: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/2021/news/st-helena-health-services-transformation-programme/
Suggestions on how we can improve our Health Services can be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org or to Clinical Governance Officer, Karl Martin, on tel. 22500.
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17 September 2021