Providing high-quality care should be a concern for all social and health care service providers (Keleman 2003). Health and social care workers interpret the concept of quality in health care differently and as such, quality issues are fairly common in the provision of health and social care services. The most common quality issues in health care include overuse, underuse, or misuse of certain services, as noted by Sussex, Herne, and Scourfield (2008). Accordingly, health care providers contend that improving the quality of health and social care would go a long way in reducing such medical errors, in addition to improving service delivery. However, before this can happen, the staff needs to be empowered. They should also be involved in the entire process of ensuring quality in health care.
Moreover, health and social care settings should adhere to the requirements, rules, and policies set up by the relevant external regulatory bodies. On the other hand, there should be a means of identifying if the system is providing quality care. One way of doing this is to conduct quality audits and reviews whereby individual areas of an organization’s activity are subjected to a systematic critical assessment (Moullin 2002). A quality survey of the system can also be done. This involves an in-depth assessment of a narrower field of activity. Alternatively, the quality assessment team could also subject a department or unit to a routine scheduled inspection in what is known as quality inspection. Another quality assessment technique that can be conducted in a health or social care setting is the use of a quality tour where a work area is subjected to an unscheduled assessment.
In addition, tools used in a given unit or department could also be subjected to quality sampling.
Once the health and social care setting has been subjected to the above quality assessment methods, the relevant inspection authorities can then ascertain whether the facility in question is providing the expected quality of care within the established policies and guidelines (Stein & Thomas 2009). This is also an opportunity for the quality inspection team to give appropriate recommendations on how the health care facility can go about improving the quality of care provided, in line with the existing guidelines and protocols. For example, a team of quality inspectors paid a visit to the Royal United Hospital at Bath between 5th and 6th, and a second visit on 14th December 2014. These CQC Quality inspection tours aimed to ascertain if the health care facility was complying with the CQC standards and to give recommendations on areas of quality care that needed to be improved. Report findings revealed that while the hospital had complied with nearly all of the actions of a previous inspection conducted in June 2013, certain areas needed improving. As a result, the report recommended improvements in staffing levels in neonatal and critical care units and effective sharing of information from incident reporting.
The provision of quality health care should be a key concern for health and social services. In this case, the management should develop a habit of conducting face-to-face talks with carers, patients, and other service users (Moullin 2002). The management should also organize focus groups in which the staffs share the issues facing them in the provision of health care. Surveys should also be developed on the experiences of service users, and users asked to respond to them. Alternatively, service users can be requested to write their complaints and/or compliments or suggestions and drop them in the suggestions box.
Keleman, M 2003, Managing Quality, SAGE Publications Ltd, London.
Moullin, M 2002, Delivering Excellence in Health and Social Care, Open University Press, Berkshire, UK.
Stein, M & Thomas, C 2009, Quality Matters in Children’s Services, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, New York.
Sussex, F, Herne, D & Scourfield, P 2008, Advanced Health and Social Care for NVQ/SVQ Level 4 and Foundation Degrees, Heinemann, Oxford.