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Patient safety and quality framework for cancer ‘scaled down’

By Mindo - 18th Nov 2019

Work on a new cancer patient safety and quality framework has been subject to a “scaling down” as a result of changes in the organisations responsible for the project, the Medical Independent (MI) can report.

A recommendation in the national cancer strategy states that the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) “will ensure that each hospital has a clearly-defined framework for cancer patient safety and quality”.

The executive management team of the NCCP discussed the issue at its meeting in February, the minutes of which were obtained by MI through Freedom of Information law.

“A scaling-down of the project has been necessary, due mainly to changes within the HSE/HIQA and the NCEC [national clinical effectiveness committee],” according to the minutes.

“A smaller ‘test and learn’ approach has been advised by key stakeholders.”

A briefing paper on the new approach was circulated to meeting attendees.

The meeting heard that the head of the quality and safety hub post is “on hold for the moment” and the post of programme manager for quality and safety is being considered to build the necessary infrastructure for implementation of the framework.

A spokesperson for the NCCP told this newspaper that the programme has gone through a process of stakeholder engagement within the Irish health system, and has received expert advice from both NHS Scotland and a cancer quality expert from the UK, where established frameworks are in place.

The pilot ‘test and learn’ process is expected to conclude in St James’s Hospital in February 2020, after which time the NCCP will “further refine the framework and the standards for inclusion”, according to the spokesperson.

“Initially, the framework will focus on standards for lung cancer, but will evolve to include standards for all cancers,” the spokesperson stated.

“The national steering group for quality and safety will regroup in Q1 2020 in consult on the new framework and the standards for inclusion.”

The spokesperson added “the post of programme manager for quality and safety at general manager level is within the approval process for grade VIII and above with the Department of Health”.

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