Specialist centres providing cystic fibrosis (CF) care should be formally accredited on a regular basis, according to a new model of care.
The cystic fibrosis model of care states the accreditation process would be undertaken by the proposed national cystic fibrosis office.
Prof Charles Gallagher, HSE National Clinical Lead for Cystic Fibrosis, told the Medical Independent (MI) the clinical programme had “championed” the concept of accreditation.
It has not yet been decided how often the assessment process would take place. “It could be, for example, every four-to-five years,” Prof Gallagher told MI.
Currently, there are six paediatric and five adult CF specialist centres. Accreditation would also apply to any “shared care centres” that have formal arrangements with the specialist centre.
The model of care stresses the need to improve staffing levels at the centres, stating that most, if not all, are understaffed in key areas. Additionally, it is important that all centres employ more than one consultant specialising in CF, according to the document.
“There are currently a number of centres that have only one CF consultant,” said Prof Gallagher. “We have consultants not actually taking their full leave because of it.”
The document also states that the expectations of the public for health improvement exceed the reality of day-to-day CF care.
“CF is still a chronic condition which causes major health issues and is an ongoing burden for PWCF [people with cystic fibrosis],” according to the document. “This ‘expectations gap’ is stressful for PWCF and their families and also for CF healthcare professionals. The rare cases of abuse (personal and on social media) of CF team members and nurses on CF wards has also made it harder to recruit and retain CF team members.”