Staff hailed in positive health service report

The staff at Canberra Hospital… has always been the outstanding feature of ACT Health. Photo: Janet Ewen

“How did Canberra Health Services get here? The report identified that there is a robust risk management framework supported by well-understood policies, procedures and guidelines,” writes the political columnist. MICHAEL MOORE.

Finally, there is good news on the health front in Canberra.

Michael Moore.

Coming out of the quagmire of COVID-19 and its impacts on the health of all Canberrans, there is a positive report on our healthcare system. Its greatest strength is the 8500 staff working in Canberra Health Services.

The Australian Healthcare Standards Council (ACHS) has determined that Canberra Health Services is achieving its goal of providing healthcare and patient safety in accordance with Australian standards.

Not so long ago, these services scored very poorly in the assessment of the National Standards for Safety and Quality in Health Care (NSQHS) reviewed by the CAHS.

The report really identifies what most of us have known for decades. The dedicated staff of Canberra Hospital and other health services has always been the outstanding feature of ACT Health. From now on, the staff organization is aligned with their professionalism and skills.

This process was taken very seriously with 10 assessors conducting the review of the eight standards over five days at the end of June, visiting all clinical areas and many non-clinical support areas. Evaluators found that change was in the air saying: “Many staff commented on the significant improvement in communications and staff morale since this last on-site accreditation assessment on site. organization”.

A reorganization of health arrangements in Canberra resulted in the formation of Canberra Health Services in October 2018 following a scathing report by the NSQHS in March that year when 33 of 151 actions failed to meet requirements.

What the report does not consider is the issue of the timeliness of emergency and elective surgeries. The speed of execution remains a serious challenge, with catastrophic waiting lists.

The change paid off. The 151 actions were satisfactorily addressed in all eight standards. As examples, the report cites as a positive approach “the inclusion of patients and caregivers in care planning and care delivery” and, more importantly, “the delivery of quality comprehensive care through collaboration staff in all disciplines of the patient journey”.

The evaluation also commented on “authentic partnerships between staff, patients and caregivers, and strong documentation and patient handover procedures across the continuum of care”.

How did Canberra Health Services get here? The report identified that there is a robust risk management framework that is supported by well-understood policies, procedures and guidelines. Strong frameworks in Canberra’s health services that are supported effectively are essential to making effective improvements.

What changed ? “A positive workforce culture that aligns closely with the vision and values ​​of Canberra Health Services”. All of this was achieved despite the impact of the pandemic when staff were under incredible pressure and stress.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith was happy to sing the staff’s praises.

“It was also great to see some of our programs, such as Enhanced Recovery After Surgery, receive special mention as an example of patients actively participating in their care from pre-admission to discharge – reducing length of stay, post-operative complications and improve patient satisfaction,” she said.

Along the same lines, Mental Health Minister Emma Davidson said: ‘Reviewers noted the motivation of our mental health team at Canberra Health Services and highlighted the effective systems in place, such as the presence of mental health representatives based in the emergency department for rapid risk assessment. and patient transfers.

“Other new initiatives highlighted include the staff post in the Acute Mental Health Unit, which enhances the interaction and mutual discussion between staff and patients in decision-making regarding patient care.”

There were also recommendations for improvement. An example was to ensure annual inspections of biomedical equipment after finding, for example, that certain “resuscitation” machines in the delivery room and the cardiology area were obsolete.

In addition, there were some recommendations regarding the handling of medications. The reviewers felt that the reviews were generally conducted efficiently, but some areas, such as geriatrics, could be improved. There was also a comment about the need for “uniform implementation of systems to alert clinicians who were checking EMMS (charts) about insulin and other medications”.

In addition to the minor issues identified, this report is expected to greatly enhance the standard of care provided by healthcare staff across our healthcare services in Canberra. Now is the time to tackle wait times for the emergency department and elective surgeries.

Michael Moore is a former ACT MLA and Independent Health Minister. He has been a political columnist for “CityNews” since 2006.

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