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Healthcare Commission Report into Noble’s Hospital 21 August 2006

The Department of Health and Social Security announces the publication date of the Healthcare Commission Report into Noble’s Hospital on 21st August 2006.

Steve Rodan, MHK, Minister for Health and Social Security said,

“Improving the level of service provided by Noble’s Hospital is a constant priority for the Department. Commissioning the first ever such review of an Isle of Man hospital demonstrates our commitment and provides a platform from which to launch future developments of services.”

Norman McGregor Edwards, Director of Health Strategy and Performance said,

“It is important for the continued development of the Island’s Health Services that the Department seeks to objectively and systematically review services. As well as identifying current performance, it also highlights service development priorities for the future, which is vital when planning services based on the needs of patients.”

The Commission commented on the high level of dedication, shown by the staff of Noble’s Hospital in the care that they provide. The Commission was also extremely impressed with the hospital’s facilities and the environment in which patients are cared for at Noble’s Hospital. They recognised the high level of investment in the hospital premises, in the equipment and in the training and development of the skills and expertise of staff. They believe that this stands Noble’s Hospital in good stead for the future. The report identifies a number of high level and key issues as areas for development in the future.

The Department agrees and acknowledges that these are urgent and important priorities, including:

  • Developing a Strategy for Health and Operational Planning Process – this relates to a comprehensive and clear business planning process and should not be confused with the day to day running of the hospital, which managers and clinical teams are doing well.
  • Attending to the recognised deficiencies in financial information systems, financial management and budget control generally, that makes it extremely difficult to achieve the proper levels of accountability for financial management and to establish cost-effectiveness of services. In parallel with this, the development of IT systems are required to provide financial managers and budget holders with timely and appropriate information to operate an effective financial management regime.
  • Attending to the recognised deficiencies in information infrastructure – Much of the information needed for the truly effective running of services, and the planning of future services, isn’t available in an adequate form. It is underdeveloped and a key priority will be to improve the quality of information and data available to clinicians and managers in the future.
  • Achieving better clarity in the relationship between Public Health priorities and service planning – a recent external review of the Public Health Directorate in the Island will help with future service planning in a more structured way.
  • Taking a comprehensive view of the relatively few areas, but nonetheless vitally important, where we have waiting list problems.
  • To examine issues such as the adoption and application of appropriate clinical standards, such as the UK National Service Frameworks

The Healthcare Commission appreciated and understood that this is an Island community and therefore, there are inherent risks associated with running certain specialist services, some of which see relatively small numbers of patients. The Commission made comments in respect of this issue.

The next steps for the Department are as follows:

  1. There is to be an action-planning workshop on 7 September 2006, which will involve seventy or so key individuals, with overall facilitation by representatives of the Healthcare Commission, to help develop a series of action plans to implement the recommendations contained in the report. The Department has already implemented some of the recommendations and others are underway. However, to address the most complex of the recommendations, Hospital and Health Service managers estimate that it could take up to three years.
  2. The Department will be to appoint lead officers and clinicians who will have specific responsibility for achieving certain developments and recommendations.
  3. The Department will establish a review and monitoring framework to support robust performance management for the future.

Clearly, in addition to these actions, which derive specifically from the outcome of the review, other activities, such as collaborative working with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and the anticipated introduction in 2007 of an improved financial management IT system, will also continue.

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