Directorate Re-Designed

The former Quality and Patient Safety Directorate has now evolved into two distinct divisions, to give it an enhanced role, writes Dr. Philip Crowley, National Director, HSE Quality Improvement Division.

Dr. Philip Crowley
Dr. Philip Crowley

The HSE, like all leading healthcare systems, places patient safety and quality of care at the heart of service provision and delivery. The delivery of high quality, evidence based, safe, effective and person-centred care, is a key objective for the health service. International best practice points to the need for quality and patient safety functions to be robust at corporate level to support staff to embed a culture of quality and safety within their services. In this context, the HSE has redesigned its national Quality and Patient Safety function to give it an enhanced role in relation to both quality improvement and quality assurance, within an environment where patients, service users and staff are involved, their opinions sought and their voice is heard.

This reorganisation aims to support, facilitate and build a quality and safety agenda at corporate, divisional and service provider levels.

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The former Quality and Patient Safety Directorate has now evolved into two distinct divisions;

  • The Quality Assurance and Verification (QAV) headed by Patrick Lynch and
  • The Quality Improvement Division (QID) the role of which I will explain further below.

The Quality Assurance and Verification (QAV) Division has been established (headed by Patrick Lynch) to strengthen the focus of the health services on patient safety and quality. This will be done through measuring how the health services perform in relation to the quality of the services provided, building the capacity of the organisation to respond to and learn from patient and service user feedback and safety incidents including Serious Reportable Events. The QAV Division will also undertake a programme of healthcare audits and ‘own initiative’ reviews of services where required.

The Quality Improvement Division aims to help shape a culture that puts quality of care at the heart of all services that the HSE delivers and includes corporate services.

We want to work in partnership with staff to support them as they strive to deliver the level of service that any one of us would trust to look after our loved ones when they are at their most vulnerable. Improving quality is everyone’s business, and each and every person working in the HSE has a role to play.

To support a culture of patient safety our division has a responsibility to focus on the following areas of quality:

  • Supporting staff to improve quality
  • Supporting person centred care
  • Building capacity and capability for quality improvement
  • Leading national quality Improvement programmes (in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland)
  • Information and analysis to support improvement

The combined efforts of everyone including managers, healthcare professionals, service users and their families will lead to better patient outcomes (health), better system performance (care) and better professional development (learning).

Working in a collaborative manner, that continuously builds capacity in the services for quality improvement, will be one of the hallmarks of our division. A key aspect of this will be our role in partnership with the Strategic Reform Group, the Hospital Groups, the Community Healthcare Organisations and the National Ambulance Service to make sure that there is a strong focus on quality improvement across the health service.

The Quality Improvement Division can be contacted by email to nationalqid@hse.ie . Twitter is now accessible to all staff working in HSE services and personally I have found it a very useful tool to access professionally targeted and subject specific information from leading experts. I would encourage all working in the HSE to follow the Quality Improvement Divisions’ updates @HSEQI.

The Quality Improvement Division has taken a lead role and allocated resources to certain key quality improvement programmes this year. Some examples include;

  • Medication safety programme
  • Further spread of the successful Pressure Ulcers to Zero collaborative across the country
  • Nutrition and hydration programme
  • Health Care Acquired Infection (HCAI)/Decontamination programme