Person centred care leaps forward in Jersey with the rollout of patient experience surveys

One of the largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey is a self-governing dependency of the UK. The Jersey Care Commission (the Commission) was established in 2019 to provide independent regulation and inspection, providing assurance about the quality and safety of Jersey’s health and social care system.

This week, Becky Sherrington, the Commission’s Chief Inspector, received the report of four surveys Picker conducted between September and October 2022. The programme is a first for Jersey and has been implemented to capture the experiences of people who had received care from Jersey General Hospital and from the Island’s maternity, and community mental health services.

Below, Becky, who has over 20 years of nursing and leadership experience, discusses the landmark decision to partner with Picker to create, implement, and sustain experience programmes that aim to drive quality improvement in healthcare.

What is Jersey Care Commission’s role as a regulator on the Island?

We are a statutory body and are independent of the Government of Jersey. Our role as regulator is relatively new, as is independent regulation of health and social care in Jersey. Currently, we regulate and inspect services for adults and children, including adult care homes, children’s homes, adult day care services, and home care. By law, we also hold and maintain a register of various healthcare professionals working on the Island.

We have a unique position, different from the UK, with our healthcare system not being part of the NHS. The Island is home to one general hospital that provides a range of outpatient and inpatient services such as emergency care, surgical and medical services, gynaecology, mental health, rehabilitation, maternity services, a special care baby unit and more. There has yet to be a statutory inspection of the Hospital.

What does person centred care in Jersey look like to the Commission?

Inspections are a quality improvement support mechanism and have led to improved standards of care in adult social care in Jersey. As part of the inspection process, the Commission looks for evidence that the needs of individuals are at the centre of care and treatment, this includes ensuring that, where possible, individual choice and preferences are prioritised. People should be involved in decisions regarding their health and care and, more importantly, should be seen as equals and vital to this process by their healthcare providers.

What prompted the Jersey Care Commission to put this programme in place?

Concerns were being raised in both the print and social media regarding the management and experience of hospital care and mental health services, leading to an online petition which called for an independent inspection of all health facilities, including community care. Listening and acting upon people’s experiences and feedback is our duty as a regulator.

And so, following a States Assembly debate, the Health Minister tasked the Commission to survey Islanders’ experiences of using health care provision. Alongside this, it was agreed that the Regulation of Care (Jersey) Law be amended to include statutory regulation and inspection of these services. This will commence after the amended regulations come into force next year.

What methods were services in Jersey using to capture patient experiences before the four Patient Survey Programmes?

Surveys and patient feedback forums were in place. but it was done inter-departmentally, and there needed to be a consistent and reliable process across the entire four domains. Therefore, working with Picker to design comprehensive survey programmes targeting adult users of inpatient, maternity, urgent and emergency care, and community mental health services was a significant milestone for us. By working with Picker, we are able to compare the results in Jersey with similar surveys conducted by CQC.

This is one step in delivering our commitment to the people of Jersey by testing their views of their experiences of using health and social care. The views and experiences of people who use services are crucial to creating a safer, more positive care experience. The results will assist the Department of Health and Community Services and the Jersey General Hospital to benchmark its services and to consider how best to apply the learning from the preferences and experiences of its service users.

Were there any particular challenges unique to Jersey that needed to be considered when setting up the programme?

We have one hospital, which has a slightly different service model to many large NHS hospital trusts. So, Picker closely collaborated with us to localise the surveys and ensure they were adapted to our unique position. The whole process was very assuring. Picker is an established health and social care research charity, so a solid infrastructure was in place from the start. However, one anomaly was a postal strike just as we launched the surveys! This proved challenging as all our surveys came from the UK by post.

Why are these survey programmes important to hospitals, staff, and service users?

As an independent regulator, we always publish our inspection reports in full to ensure we are open, transparent, and provide independent data. The same will be done for the results of the four survey programmes. The results will provide everyone, from service providers to service users, a window into peoples’ experiences on a large scale. By sharing what’s going well and what isn’t, the services can take steps to make improvements.

I have spent most of my career providing services within healthcare, and I know that receiving any feedback takes courage. Ultimately, however, it’s the key to developing and improving care, services, and systems.

People’s experience of care is vital to ensuring the health and social care system is working. Everyone has a right to access safe, reliable care and treatment and very often, we only get the opportunity to get it right once.

If people routinely have poor experiences, something is not working, and change is needed. However, without feedback from the users of the services, providers are blind to where improvement is required. This work means those providers can make data-driven decisions to improve care where it’s needed most. “Ultimately, by having the survey programmes in place, Islanders are empowered to share their concerns and feedback through a transparent and independent channel, allowing Jersey’s hospital services to reach their full potential in person centred care.

What does the future look like for measuring health and care experiences in Jersey?

We will be expanding independent regulation to include several new services; this year we will begin regulating and inspecting aspects of Children’s Social Care. It is likely that the same or a similar method will be adopted in seeking views from people who are using these services and we may well repeat the survey to measure changes in public opinion over time.

Why did you choose Picker as your partner in this landmark project?

We needed to get this right the first time, and we were confident in choosing Picker as our partner. Person centred care is Picker’s mission and that aligns entirely with the Jersey Care Model and the Commission’s core values. Our aim is to promote and support best practice and improve the standards of care provided by regulated services. Picker have a well-established reputation in the UK as the coordinator of the NHS Staff Survey – the largest staff survey in the world – and are the survey coordination centre for the CQC for several of their patient experience programmes, including the Urgent and Emergency Care and Community Mental Health surveys. Additionally, you offer a deeper dive into the service-user experiences using thematic reviews, sentiment analysis, and bespoke research and consultancy to suit specific requirements. Weighing all that up it made perfect sense to partner with Picker.

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