The importance of good quality policies and procedures that your staff use!

All too often our team are asked to assist providers across all regulated health care services, because they are experiencing problems with their policies and procedures. It is vital that the policies and procedures on file for regulatory inspections match what actually happens in practice.

The team at Swift Management Services are seeing a rise in the number of Health and Social care providers who find themselves in difficulty with the regulators, because their policies are inadequate to meet current standards or what is written in the policies is simply not what the organisation actually does.

Many providers think that buying off the shelf policies, and procedures is the answer; possibly they are if the provider takes the time to review and adapt them to meet the need of the service. Many people fall into the trap of adding a name and logo, printing and filing ready for the next inspection. This is a dangerous practice as more and more often we see inspectors reviewing the policies against the practices they witness and there is no correlation between policy and practice.

If a provider believes the way forward for them is the use of off the shelf policies and after all why reinvent the wheel, they should make sure they are customised. We would encourage every provider to introduce policies in an structured way, teaching staff about each new policy. Is it reflective of what actually happens? If not can you adapt the policy to reflect that actually happens or is it the practice that staff need to change? There is no blanket answer to this it depends on the subject matter.

One policy that often gets providers into trouble is the policy they have relating to staff supervisions. In England it is a requirement of the health and social care act that all staff have regular supervision sessions. There is no specification of what is meant by regular. Most off the shelf policies state that staff will have a supervision session at least every two months. If this is written but not achieved then you have as an organisation failed to meet you own targets. We would recommend that providers look at the reality and change the policy to reflect what actually happens. If at an inspection the inspector questions the regularity of staff supervisions, you can then draw their attention to the company policy.

The team at Swift Management are happy to work with providers to ensure that policies and practices are aligned. We work with your staff to review policies and update them taking into account current guidelines and good practice statements.  This can have a significant impact on a Well Led rating.

The team at Swift have extensive experience at installing, operating and writing bespoke policies, procedures and working practices which work hand in hand together giving health care providers a basis for good governance and operation of their service.

Our consultants are able to draw on our resources and prepare a quality system that works for you, keep it under review and ensure that all the elements of good governance are met.

Lots has been written about total quality systems, lots of companies offer off the shelf packages but few are able to offer a package that supports the provider every step of the way from customisation, installation, training and review. Here at Swift we offer a comprehensive solution.

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