Following the report of Mid Staffordshire (also known as the Francis Inquiry), which highlighted serious failings in the NHS, we made a commitment to make sure that safe, effective and high quality services are delivered throughout the health economy.

The key focus for patient safety policy and practice was responding to the recommendations made by the Francis Inquiry report. The report was published on 6 February 2013 and made 290 recommendations, a number which related to commissioning organisations, including:

  •  openness, transparency and candour throughout the healthcare system (including a statutory duty of candour), fundamental standards for healthcare providers
  • improved support for compassionate caring and committed nursing and stronger healthcare leadership.

Since the Francis report was published, further documents have followed, including the:

We take the findings and recommendations from these reports seriously and we have demonstrated this with the introduction of various initiatives and processes.

Initially a Quality Summit was held in September 2013. Attendees were from a variety of professions and backgrounds, including colleagues from secondary, primary and community care, public health, Healthwatch and patients. The event provided the opportunity to demonstrate leadership and management in the quality arena and to shape the local quality agenda going forward.

Work programmes were then incorporated into a Francis Action Plan, which served as a working document for our Quality Team, allowing us to monitor progress and provide assurance to key stakeholders. Making sure that the overall objective of providing and maintaining a safe, high quality and effective delivery of health services is fundamental to our philosophy.

The plan has provided a useful tool to guide us through our first year and we are confident that all the actions have now been completed. We will continue to apply and further enhance these within all future developments.

In addition, a further outcome of the summit was the formation of a Quality Forum, which introduced a mechanism for shared learning across health and social care. This has proved to be a successful group to overcome cross organisational difficulties and enable smooth transitions in care for patients between community, primary, secondary and social care.

As the Quality Summit session was so successful, a follow up event is scheduled for October 2014, entitled, ‘Quality – putting patients at the heart of healthcare’ and places are already fully booked. Colleagues from NHS England and Healthwatch have agreed to speak on the day to both health and social care professionals and patient representatives.

Our Quality Team has summarised the efforts of the first year in a Clinical Quality and Governance Annual Report 2013-14 and are currently in the process of developing a three year Quality Strategy. This will outline future initiatives, responsibilities and commitments centred around the patient resulting in the best possible care delivered throughout our health economy.

We will continue to strive to improve the quality of services we commission through listening and responding to the views and intelligence gained from our patients, carers and the wider community to make sure our patients have a positive experience of their healthcare.

Download the clinical quality and governance annual report.

The Francis Action Plan is available by emailing engage@awcccg.nhs.uk