|Speakers at the Quality Consultation. Left to Right: Dr Paul Durham (UK Care Quality Commission), Lord Nigel Crisp, Precious Matsoso, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Dr Nicola Brewer (British High Commissioner to SA).
In October 2010, SARRAH provided funding and technical support for a meeting of local and international quality improvement experts.
They gathered in Johannesburg to discuss strategies for improving and assuring the quality of health services in South Africa. This meeting built on recent work towards a establishing a national quality framework which has been funded by SARRAH.
The twin aims of the meeting were to share international experience in the implementation of a National Quality Assurance Programme and to reach a common understanding of the role of a National Quality Programme in improving the quality of the South African health services.
The meeting was attended by the Minister and Director-General of Health; MECs; the UK High Commissioner; representatives of the World Health Organisation and a panel of international speakers. The international speakers included Sir Nigel Crisp, former Chief Executive of the UK’s National Health Service, and Paul Durham of the UK’s Care Quality Commission.
An additional 120 participants represented international and national health organisations, labour organisations and representatives from civil society organisations.
Government leaders spoke about the importance of improving quality in the health services before the National Health Insurance is implemented. Six areas have been identified as central to immediate improvement. These are:
· Cleanliness of health institutions;
· Safety and security of patients;
· Attitudes of health care workers;
· Waiting times;
· Infection control measures; and
· Prevention of drug stock outs.
UK participants identified several lessons from the NHS experience of quality improvement that are relevant to South Africa’s current situation and described the UK’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) as a useful model. This is an independent body that reports to parliament and the public. Its main functions are registration of facilities, enforcement of standards, reviews of facilities and providing information about services and good practice. In the UK an institution cannot provide care if they do not meet core standards implemented by the CQC.
NDOH speakers summarised progress in developing national policy since 2008 and identified areas where policy and legislation still need to be strengthened. The establishment of an Office of Health Standards Compliance will be one such mechanism. Immediate tasks ahead include a baseline audit of hospitals and primary health care facilities, a data mapping process and data collection, and phased licensing and accreditation against national core standards.
The meeting broke into groups to discuss and make recommendations on issues relating to standards and targets, regulations, patient’s voice and accountability, quality improvement and quality information systems.
The meeting was closed by the Director-General of Health, Precious Matsoso, who described the next steps in the quality improvement agenda. She said the document describing new national standards will be published in the next few weeks. Then deliberations of the workshop will be fed into the revised draft policy on quality improvement/assurance.
Presentations and documents from the consultation are now available. READ...