Copy of a letter from Professor Ian Philp
National DirectorOlder People's Services to Alastair McLennan,
Editor, Health Service Journal
I am pleased that the HSJ has highlighted my
determination to ensure that all older people will be treated
with dignity and respect in the acute hospital settings (HSJ 19
September). It is important to make clear that we have put measures
in place to achieve this objective. These include meeting standards
in the National Service Framework:
All general hospitals which care
for older people to have identified an old age specialist multidisciplinary
team with agreed interfaces throughout the hospital for the care
of older people.
All general hospitals will have developed
a nursing structure which clearly identifies nursing leaders with
responsibility for older people. Consideration will have been
given to Nurse Specialist/Nurse Consultant and Clinical Leaders
(Modern Matrons). A priority for the Modernisation Agency is leadership
development for these groups.
In addition, the Care Group Workforce Team for
Older People's Services, which I chair has commissioned the development
of a skills and competency framework for staff working with older
people. One of the outputs from this work will be an audit tool
to help hospitals to identify the education and training needs
of those working with older people.
We are undertaking national benchmarking and
audit using the "Essence of Care" approach to meeting
the fundamentals of care for older people in acute hospitals.
And, we have a major programme of capital development to convert
old Nightingale wards to those, which better meet the needs for
privacy, and promoting recovery of function for older people.
I want to go further than this. I have visited
some hospitals, which not only deliver the fundamentals of care,
but are having a stunning impact on quality in care. For example,
when I visited the St. Helier and Epsom Stroke Unit recently,
I met patients and relatives who were not just satisfied with
their care, but deeply and universally grateful to the staff for
how well they were cared for. The staff were immensely proud of
their Unit. Managers, from the Chief Executive to the ward housekeepers
provided the leadership, organised systems and empowered staff
to make this happen.
Every week I see services which have these vital
ingredients, from the Bangladeshi Day Centre for older women with
severe mental health needs in Tower Hamlets, to the intermediate
care services in Liverpool.
I am sure that we have the right financial and
organisational environment to deliver the standards in the NSF
for Older People. My aspiration is to do more than simply meet
the milestones, helping to liberate staff and managers to achieve
the stunning level of quality in care, which is evident in many
parts of our system.
30 September 2002