South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has developed a new way of assessing and improving quality for people who use its community clinics.
The nationally-recognised Essence of Care is used extensively throughout the NHS to improve the most basic and essential aspects of care, such as privacy and dignity. Using clear questions and a simple marking system, it allows healthcare teams to identify how and where they can make improvements for people who use NHS services. Results are acted upon quickly and teams continually reassess to ensure patients can expect to receive the highest possible standards of care.
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health, learning disability and community services across Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield, has adapted this benchmarking tool for use in community clinics, which were not previously covered by Essence of Care. Larraine Whiteley, community psychiatric nurse, is part of the team responsible. She explains:
“Many areas of the Trust, including learning disabilities and older people’s services, use Essence of Care already and we have seen the difference it can make to standards. Community clinics were seen as an area which could benefit from a more tailored benchmarking tool; the new benchmark now looks at standards within key headings including communication, privacy and dignity, the care environment and appointments and administration.
“The new benchmark will make a positive difference to the experience of people who use our community clinics. This is a way of raising quality and getting the patient journey right from the beginning.“Having completed the benchmarking tool, teams can start making changes straight away and patients will benefit from immediate and continual improvements to their care and environment.”