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Health standards to improve healthcare at hospitals

by Gabi Khumalo
on 24 Apr 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The Department of Health's core standards such as access to care and clinical care are aimed at improving the quality of healthcare in public hospitals and primary facilities.

Other core standards are safety, governance, patient experience of care, infrastructure and environment and public health.

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang unveiled the core health standards on Thursday at the Tembisa Hospital.

Addressing the launch Ms Tshabalala-Msimang said although the department has made critical interventions in improving the quality of services, one of the challenges was assessing progress in their implementation.

"There has not been a set of core national standards against which all establishments and services can benchmark themselves.

"The standards are going to be used to measure and benchmark performance of health facilities by means of appraisal," said the minister

The objectives of the core standards include establishing a baseline using a rapid appraisal in an initial set of hospitals and community health centres over a period of three months and produce a report for management on critical areas of concerns and good practice as input into the facility improvement plan.

Twenty seven hospitals and four community health centres have been identified as initial focus points for appraisals based on these core standards.

The initial group of facilities covers all provinces including levels of care from community health centres up to specialised hospitals.

The minister said the uniform, comparable and detailed results would assist managers at all levels to better assess themselves, recognising that the performance of individual facilities also reflect on the performance of the health system as a whole.

Ms Tshabalala-Msimang explained that hospital chief executive officers would receive the appraisal reports and should become the champions of the process set in motion to improve the weak areas and strengthen or profile best practices.

"Provincial and national facilitation team members will be responsible for identifying and resolving those constraints and blockages that are not within the capacity of the facility manager and maintain close monitoring of progress," she said.

The minister also acknowledged the quality of service in the health sector despite challenges and constraints facing them.

"I'm satisfied with what we are doing, the overall performance by institutions is of high standard, we have put every effort to try and rise above the challenges," said the minister. - BuaNews

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