DHB to give data proving quality of its services

By anne-marie.emerson@wanganuichronicle.co.nz, Anne-Marie Emerson

Whanganui District Health Board will soon be required to demonstrate the quality of its services to the public.

Each of New Zealand's 20 DHBs has been asked by the Health Quality and Safety Commission to develop an annual quality account, which would complement the DHBs' annual report and annual plan.

Members of the Whanganui DHB's hospital advisory committee and the community and public health advisory committee discussed the information on quality accounts at their meetings yesterday.

Whanganui DHB business manager Tracey Schiebli told members of the public health advisory committee that quality accounts were not just about Wanganui Hospital but covered health services regionwide.

Mrs Schiebli said the Whanganui DHB must decide what form it wished its quality accounts to take. The first quality account is due to cover the 2012-13 financial year.

Information provided by the Health Quality and Safety Commission said the idea of quality accounts first came from Britain, where the National Health Service introduced them in 2010.

"The primary purpose of quality accounts is to encourage boards and leaders of healthcare organisations to assess quality across all of the healthcare services they offer, and encourage them to engage in ... continuous quality improvement," the commission said.

"The visible product of this process is a document aimed at a local, public readership."

However, committee members were unenthusiastic about the introduction of quality accounts.

Member Kate Joblin said it was simply more paperwork.

Another committee member, Judith MacDonald, said she was uneasy about the idea.

"I don't believe it will give an accurate picture of what is truly going on," she said.

Mrs MacDonald also said more discussion needed to happen with other health providers which would be involved in putting together the quality account.

Nancy Tuaine said she believed quality accounts were about "quality of systems, rather than quality of practice".

Mrs Schiebli said she would take the feedback from committee members and report back to a later Whanganui DHB meeting.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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