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The HSE DNE OHS, which covers the old North Eastern Health Board area, was set up in 2001.
A spokesperson for HSE DNE OHS commented: “In 2014/15 we realised that we needed to refocus our services on the needs of our service users and to re-examine our own working practices in light of the wider organisational change and macroeconomic environment.”
According to the spokesperson, there were a number of challenges. These included how best to provide a high quality, cost efficient service, to support management cost pressures and recruitment challenges in maintaining services; advice to management on reasonable accommodation for persons with disability including alternative duties not causing disproportionate burden; providing information and training to management on the role of occupational health within the employment legal framework; and providing ongoing appropriate learning and development for staff.
The team embarked on what it called the ‘Apple’ Challenge: Approach service users with warm welcome; probe politely for all concerns; present a solution for the service user on the day; listen and resolve any issues or concerns; end well and respectfully.
Its methods in achieving these goals included a concerted focus on service users, ensuring consistency of standards, identifying any gaps in the quality management system, reviewing and agreement all documented procedures, and improving staff communications internally and externally.
These approaches have benefited both service users and staff, said a spokesperson.
“This involved a lot of work in a department with limited resources and having faced significant budget cuts. However, we did find it beneficial and our hard work with limited resources was acknowledged by our assessors.
“As the first SEQOHS certified health service OHS we are delighted with the outcome of the recent audit. The team worked extremely hard over the last 12 months preparing for the audit….We are very proud of how we have all pulled together to achieve our quality certification and that our ‘Apple’ met the SEQOHS standards.”