Sunday, 17 July 2011

ECQ makes it a good week, even if the weather was a little wet and dry!

This week the quality of our nursing and midwifery programmes were assessed by the NHS North West using the Education Commissioning for Quality (ECQ) framework of metrics. This approach is a Department of Health must do, designed to ensure that the provision of all healthcare education is reviewed, quality assured, performance managed and in our case, meets the requirements of NHS North West health care workforce. For those Universities providing education and training programmes for health care professions, the ECQ approach is a critical improvement process. The results ensure that all educational and placement providers are working against agreed standards of provision and providing value for money. The ECQ process also allows for the formal identification of areas where educational provision can be enhanced beyond what is currently accepted as the standard provision. However, if we get it wrong there are possible financial consequences for the School as the commissioning of programmes can be reduced or even moved to another provider entirely. However, the process is also an important opportunity to present any areas of exemplary practice, which we took to show case our work over the past 12 months.

The ECQ process is an evidence based one, using nationally agreed metrics. Each University is rated on a traffic light scheme (Red = unacceptable/high risk; amber = concern/areas to be addressed; green = no problems).  I am pleased to say that we scored all greens! And just for good measure our Social Work colleagues had the results back  from the General Social Care Council of their equivalent quality assessment process and again we scored all greens.

So the outcome was really good news. The results point to excellent team working across the School by all academic and professional support staff in continuing towards our ambition of becoming known internationally for the quality of our education and training programmes and the creative ways in which we prepare nurses, social workers and midwives for the future.

The week was a busy one all round. It ended on Friday with a day spent in the V+A hotel at the last College Executive retreat of this academic period. The conversations and discussion were productive and despite the sometimes powerful egos sitting around the table, the debate was nowhere near as dramatic as the weather outside the rooms’ big picture windows. All day there was sunshine followed by rain and hail in equal measure. I should have known Friday’s weather was a spooky portend for the weekend.

Yesterday started warm and grey, but after a quick burst of rain we settled into a warm sunny morning. By the time the chores were done and it was time to take Cello out the sun was shining and I strode out confidently dressed in sandals, shorts and t-shirt. However, after just 10 minutes, the blue sky, turned black, and we were engulfed in a monsoon like down pour. Both Cello and I were soaked to the skin. Thankfully by the time we got to the top of the hill on Joan’s Field, the sun came out and started to dry us off. Apart from some frizzy hair (mine not Cello’s) there were no ill effects. From this hill, it’s possible to see right across the Manchester Plain to Blackpool and Manchester (the Hilton Hotel is clear to see), and on very good days it is possible to even see the mountain slopes of Wales. Whatever the time of day or weather, it is one of my favourite local walks.

And my favourite quote of the week was to be found in this week’s Nursing Times (the online version): You have two things to offer a patient: humanity and technical competence. You are rarely much use to people without both and, if you lack one element, you probably won’t be able to do the other well. The quote came Professor Peter Griffiths Head of Health Services Research at the University of Southampton, and Executive Editor of the International Journal of Nursing Studies, and for me, the quote encapsulated our approach to what it is we are trying to achieve across the School in preparing our students for professional practice.