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Hospital's 'Unsafe' Culture To Be Overhauled

Plans have been drawn up by the Health Minster to 'transform' the way Jersey's healthcare system is governed.

It follows a damning report in August, that unearthed a lack of accountability and a culture of bullying within the hospital's workforce.

Health Minister Deputy Karen Wilson has laid out her plans to improve the quality of care in the island's hospital.

The 'wide-ranging' transformation will 'put patients first' after it was found their safety was potentially at risk because of the toxic workplace culture.

"What I am proposing will make sure that we've got the right accountability and responsibilities so that patients can be assured that people are doing the right thing in the right place at the right time.

No matter how, or in what way you engage in the health system, you can expect a standard of care that is in line with the best evidence available to deliver that care."

The Minister also hopes that the 'transformation' will mean waiting times and cancellations will become minimal.

The report also criticised a lack of accountability within the healthcare setting, with incidents not being reported by staff because they are reluctant - with some fearing they'd be punished for it.

In response, the Health Minister will instate a 'Freedom to Speak-Up Guardian'.

"That will be an individual who is an independent voice for staff and they {the staff} will have a say in the recruitment and selection of that person.

And the important thing about the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian is that they will have an ability to act on those concerns, so that they are just not raised, but actually acted upon."

A number of staff members interviewed as part of the investigation say the problems are 'deep-seated and historic', but Deputy Wilson doesn't believe the changes have come too late.

"We're at a moment in time where we have a whole range of information being presented, patients complaining about waiting times - quite rightly - staff are complaining about bullying and harassment - quite rightly.

The wider public have concerns about whether the hospital is safe and these are things that don't happen overnight. These are things which have been building up over time, and have now come to what you might call a perfect storm."

She also wants to set up a Health Board of independent, non-executive members to assure the public and the government on the quality and performance of the health system.

It's not yet known how much the overhaul of the service will cost but the Health Minister says that she will release the figures 'as soon as possible.'

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