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Spreading best practice

It is well established that clinical outcomes are improved by setting best practice standards.

Measuring clinical outcomes alone will not be enough. The CQC has the responsibility to monitor, inspect and regulate services to ensure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety. It publishes what it finds, including performance ratings to help people choose care. The trust board is ultimately accountable for ensuring those fundamental standards are in place.

The best way to spread best practice is to set standards centrally and roll these out as part of the mobilisation process. Replication across all networked sites and measuring compliance will underpin assurance around quality and safety. Induction, mandatory and local training should promote the importance of compliance and peer review should be encouraged to create excellence in care.

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“A key improvement should be a reduction in unwarranted variation in clinical quality and service model. Networks can provide a framework that describes what good looks like – not sticking rigidly to organisational viewpoints but doing what is best.”

“It’s easy to give people documents but that’s no guarantee they’re being used or being used correctly.”

“A particularly important policy for networks is business continuity. All sites ideally need detailed plans for everything that could conceivably go wrong.”

“If a new document is being launched, it’s wise to introduce the key points at team or service meetings.”

  • Up-to-date policies, guidelines and protocols need to be easily accessible to all staff to Quality symbolenable them to operate at the required standard without constant reference to the centre.
  • It should be easy for staff to find those which are relevant to their role.
  • Using consistent documentation and systems across the network will help staff moving between sites and enable patients to have a seamless experience.
  • Evidence-based specialty-specific policies and guidelines need to be kept up to date.
  • Policy owners should lead on compliance monitoring.
  • Advanced practitioners should be encouraged to share their skills and knowledge and be allocated time to do this.
  • There needs to be clarity about how policies can be adapted to local needs and maintain network standardisation.
  • There needs to be a clear process for communication to ensure that service improvements, learning from complaints and incidents and examples of excellence in care are shared across the network.
  • This learning needs to be monitored so it is clear how and when it was shared.

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