Minister Howard Quayle MHK says he is pleased with the progress he has seen at the Department of Health and Social Care since he took up his post there five months ago. But much work remains to be done, he warns.
The Minister said:
'The focus of the past few months has been about establishing a solid foundation for the newly merged Department of Health and Social Care. We know we are going to face difficult challenges in the future with our ageing population and a growing demand for health and social care services, as well as rising expectations from the public. Thats why its important that we have the right management structure in place and a talented and experienced leadership team to support staff across the organisation in meeting these challenges head-on.'
The Department has made significant ongoing progress in a range of areas, including:
Appointment of new Chief Executive, Mark Charters
Initial steps to implement recommendations of the review by Beamans into management and governance of Nobles Hospital with the recruitment to the newly created post of Managing Director for Acute Services and also to the post of Medical Director for Nobles Hospital, which is to become a full time management post
Appointment of new Patient Safety and Governance Manager at Nobles Hospital
Approval for major upgrades to Nobles Hospitals Medway and GPs EMIS patient record IT systems
Publication of first two reviews by the West Midlands Quality Review Service
Further work to investigate options for the on-Island treatment of Age Related Macular Degeneration
Launch of Shared Equity schemes for first time buyers, making it easier for those on lower incomes to reach the first rung on the property ladder
Continued work on new £4 million Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The Minister added:
'We have moved quickly to establish a new senior leadership team for the Department, and I am delighted that we have been able to attract high quality people to a variety of senior posts. This will greatly enhance the Departments ability to address immediate issues and to strategically plan for the medium to long-term, which I believe needs strengthening in several areas.
'Were also investing heavily in new IT systems which will be vital to improving care, customer service and overall efficiency. These systems will play a key role in ensuring that health and social care systems can work together as we develop an increasingly integrated service. There will be many benefits; not least in the availability of management information which is essential to proper performance management of our Islands treasured health and social care services.'
Despite the rapid progress being made, the Minister is conscious that much more remains to be done:
'It is going to take a little while for the new leadership team to bed in, but our new Chief Executive has hit the ground running, and I expect the same will be true for the new Managing Director for Acute Services and the Nobles Hospital Medical Director.
'We have some big challenges ahead, not least implementing the action plans arising from the WMQRS reviews and continuing the peer review programme over the next two and a half years. We also need to begin to further our thinking on the long term challenges in relation to the sustainability of the services we provide.'
The Minister concluded by praising staff:
'Over the past 18 months morale particularly at Nobles Hospital has been impacted. But I have been impressed by the dedication and passion of the many staff I have met over my first few months as Minister. I am certain that staff across the Department have the energy and drive to do all we can to provide the best health and social care services for the people of the Isle of Man.'