Patrick Keady

Quality : how it is reviewed in the West Midlands


Established in May 2009, the West Midlands Quality Review Service (WMQRS) is alive and well.  And in 2011, they are peer-reviewing all of the NHS organisations in the West Midlands, that are providing mental health, dementia and learning disabilities services.


Preparing for these Reviews is invigorating.  It took me three months (including five bank holidays) to prepare an NHS Trust for their peer-review with respect to WMQRSs 301 quality standards in adult mental health, dementia and learning disabilities.


Did the process make a difference?  Yes.  Service Users and Carers jumped at the opportunities to meet the peer-reviewers.  Doctors, Nurses, AHPs and managers went through the standards in rigorous detail, discovering the areas where their services are doing well and the areas where development might be required.


During my three months with the NHS Trust, we initiated and completed 417 pages of self-assessments with respect to all WMQRSs 301 standards, we produced 170 folders of evidence to back up the self-assessments and we timetabled 120 employees, service users and carers to meet with 46 Reviewers over 131 hours.


One of the key advantages of the WMQRS approach for me, is that the quality standards follow the patient pathway – they are not bound by organisations.  The Review process actively involves service users and carers.  And the Reviewers report will summarise WMQRSs findings from the  Commissioning Cluster, Specialised Commissioning, Mental Health/Learning Disabilities providers and Acute Trusts too.


And there were surprises too.  The amount of positive feedback that service users and carers gave about their experiences of being cared for by clinical staff in the Trust.  And the repeated reflections from staff, that while preparing for the Review was hard work, that the work was well worth it.


Interested in becoming a WMQRS Reviewer ?  Click here.


Over to you : is this posting helpful.  Want to share your experiences of quality assurance and external reviews?  If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this posting, then do contact me here. And feel free to share in the comments section.


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