Loughborough University postgraduate programme in healthcare governance – next intake November 2012

February 7, 2011

This well established and popular part-time postgraduate programme in healthcare governance, run by Loughborough University School of Business and economics, will take its next intake in November 2012.

The programme accepts anyone interested in healthcare governance and with suitable qualifications and/or experience to undertake postgraduate level study. It is not always a necessity to have a first degree.

Students can study for a postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma or Master of Science (MSc) degree in healthcare governance. The full MSc degree takes a minimum of 2 years by part-time study and includes modules on corporate governance in healthcare, clinical governance (including patient safety) and managing healthcare risk, together with a dissertation on any healthcare governance related topic.

For further information, click here.


Failing PCT establishes ‘board scrutiny sessions’

June 4, 2010

As reported in the Health Service Journal (HSJ – 3 June 2010) NHS Portsmouth City has been placed “in intervention” by its SHA for missing certain key targets.

However, a spokesman for NHS Portsmouth City said to the HSJ: “We’re very aware of the significant pressures on the local healthcare system, and in advance of the SHA’s decision had already established board scrutiny sessions. These will identify the issues, challenges and actions needed to secure improvement, both in the short term and further ahead.”

Presumably the PCT board was not aware that one of its principal roles in governing the organisation is scrutiny of management performance!


FT seeks ‘Head of Patient and Healthcare Governance’ – Band 8d

April 11, 2010

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS foundation trust is looking for a ‘Head of Patient and Healthcare Governance’ (band 8d, accountable to the medical director). The right person will have an “Excellent working knowledge of clinical governance, process redesign, risk management, safety systems, statistical information analysis complaints and claims” and a “Proven ability to think laterally at a strategic level.”

The job purpose is “To provide operational leadership for the Department of Patient and Healthcare Governance within the Medical Director’s office and be responsible for Healthcare Standards, Corporate Governance and Risk Management through the Directorate leads. The post holder has an expert role in delivering the Trust’s Healthcare Standards programme.”

“The Department has been created to provide a Trust-wide focus for patient and healthcare governance and ensure that governance issues are managed through the “eyes of the patients” irrespective of the original source of the governance issue.”

The closing date for applications is 18 April 2010.

For further information, click here.


World Bank paper: Governance in health care delivery – raising performance

January 31, 2010

The World Bank has published a Policy Research Working Paper titled Governance in Health Care Delivery – Raising Performance.

This paper—a product of the Development Economics Department and the Human Development Department—is part
of a larger effort in both departments to understand governance and sector policy.

According to the paper “The impacts of health care investments in developing and transition countries are typically measured by inputs and general health outcomes. Missing from the health agenda are measures of performance that reflect whether health systems are meeting their objectives; public resources are being used appropriately; and the priorities of governments are being implemented.”

The paper suggests that “good governance is central to raising performance in health care delivery. Crucial to high performance are standards, information, incentives and accountability.”

The paper provides “a definition of good governance in health and a framework for thinking about governance.”

Download the paper Governance in Health Care Delivery – Raising Performance here.


CQC CEO wants to “ring alarm bells in the boardrooms” of poorly performing organisations

October 17, 2009

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published performance ratings for 2008/09 all 392 NHS trusts in England. Their assessment, also known as the ‘annual health check,’ shows big improvements for patients. According to the CQC, there is a reduction in MRSA and Clostridium difficile, and more people are:

– seen in A&E within four hours;
– receiving treatment within eighteen weeks of referral; and
– screened for Chlamydia.

Overall, the CQC says that the NHS is performing well on quality and has significantly improved its financial management.

However, the Commission is concerned about the 20 trusts rated weak on quality, particularly those rated weak over a number of years, and trusts rated fair for too long without improving.

Cynthia Bower, CQC Chief Executive, says:

“I want to ring the alarm bell in the boardrooms of these organisations. Next year, all trusts must register with us to legally function. It is clear that many have significant work to do to and a short time in which to do it. They should be in no doubt that we will take firm action if we deem it necessary.”

Of particular interest is the self-reported state of compliance with the Core standards for better health. The standards with highest rate of compliance are:

C08a (100% compliance) – support for staff to raise concerns about services
C10b (100%) – professionals abide by relevant codes of professional practice
C14a (99.8%) – providing information about how to complain
C22a&c (99.8%) – organisations cooperate to improve health of the community
C06 (99.6%) – health and social care organisations cooperate
C07b (99.6%) – promote openness, honesty, probity, and accountability

Core standards with lowest rate of compliance are:

C11b (87.6%) – participation in mandatory training
C09 (88.3%) – systematic and planned approach to records management
C04c (88.3%) – reusable medical devices are properly decontaminated
C04b (89.6%) – minimise risks of medical devices
C07e (90.5%) – challenge discrimination, promote equality and respect human rights
C02 (90.7%) – protect children by following national child protection guidelines

Full information on the 2008/09 annual health check can be found here.


In defence of targets…..

September 27, 2009

The negative impacts of targets in the NHS have been well documented over recent years. But what about their positive effects?

A recent episode of the BBC’s Radio 4 Analysis programme looked at the case for targets. The programme asks “Can their combination of statistical and managerial rigour improve our public services?”

The BBC says that  “[Targets are] often hated by frontline staff, criticised by statisticians and now even their political backers seem to be drifting away. But there’s a lot more to targets than just ticking boxes – this programme finds evidence [actually, with reference to the comment by Howard Clark, below, what the programme appears to find is more ‘opinion’ than hard ‘evidence’ – Ed.] that they really can work to raise standards. Contributors include Liam Byrne, Minster for Public Service Reform; Richard Hamblin of the Care Quality Commission; John Seddon, Vanguard Consulting; and Gwyn Bevan of the LSE.”

For further information, click here.

A podcast of the programme is available for a short time and can be downloaded here.

Readers might like to visit the Vanguard Consulting website The Systems Thinking Review, which contains a wealth of interesting information and guidance on Vanguard’s ‘Systems Thinking’ approach, including a video introduction by John Seddon.


Organisational health: a new perspective on performance improvement?

September 27, 2009

The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement believes that “One of the biggest mindset issues is the way we think about performance and how to manage it. In recent years, we have focused much of our performance management effort on immediate payoffs by achieving short term targets. Evidence suggests that this might be a risky strategy longer term. It can stifle ambition, even incapacitate organisations, leaving them unable to achieve more than specific deadlines or targets.”

In response to the challenge of ‘changing mindsets’ around performance management, the Institute has published a ‘paper’ titled Organisational Health: a new perspective on performance improvement?

The paper begins as a synthesis of the key themes connected to organisational health in the literature and then draws inference from wider concepts to extend these core ideas. It is a research paper that requires some deep concentration and reflection to read. Yet it contains some true insights for thinking about organisational and system performance in the future.

According to Healrn Bevan, Chief of Service Transformation at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, “Whether we are leaders of provider organisations, or PCTs commissioning for quality, or SHAs overseeing the performance of the wider system, the ‘health’ challenges are fundamentally similar. We need to find ways to balance our efforts and energy between achieving short term results and building organisational health for the future.

Making our organisations ‘healthy’ is one of the most effective ways of creating organisational resilience in the coming economic climate. Part of the reason why we currently focus so strongly on managing performance is because it is such a tangible and measurable thing to do. Part of the challenge for the future is to make organisational and system health as much part of the way we think and work as the current performance perspective.”

The paper, Organisational Health: a new perspective on performance improvement?, can be freely downloaded here (requires registration and login).