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DHB moves to transform its Women’s Health service

As part of its Women’s Health Transformation Project which began in August, the DHB commissioned an external management and clinical review to recommend how it can improve its maternity, obstetric and gynaecological services to women in the Waikato.

This review focused on the outstanding training recommendations from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG). It also looked at identifying ways of improving our maternity, obstetric and gynaecological services, including better use of resources, building a culture of excellence, strengthening training, education and research capabilities, and continuing the good work being done in maternity quality and safety.

The review has now been published. It recommends setting up a taskforce to implement an action plan that will help the DHB transform its service and regain the RANZCOG accreditation for junior doctor training that was removed from December 2015.

The taskforce will be appointed in the New Year and will include clinicians, both independent and from the Waikato DHB, advisors from midwifery and allied health and a consumer representative. The chair of the taskforce will report to the Executive Group and will update the Board regularly on progress.

The review’s key recommendations are:

  • Workforce and resourcing: address immediate workforce resourcing issues including recruiting senior doctors, planning for contingency midwife staffing, ‘job sizing,’ and a change in rostering.
  • Leadership: enhance leadership roles to support more effective planning, clearer accountability and teamwork, including re-establishing a formal Clinical Service Leadership Team and redefining some roles.
  • Culture: improve the workplace culture of the women’s Health service by developing a new service manual that clearly sets out objectives, roles and responsibilities, lines of accountability and the service vision and values.
  • Training, education and research: establish dedicated time for training, teaching and research activity for SMOs and foster relationships with university faculties.
  • Quality and performance improvement: Work with the Maternity Quality Safety Programme (MQSP) on a plan for staff engagement and identify and address service quality improvement capacity and skill gaps.

Waikato DHB chief executive Dr Nigel Murray said: “Our Women’s Health service has faced some significant challenges over an extended period of time, particularly relating to leadership, teamwork and the patient experience. We were also disappointed to lose our RANZCOG accreditation for training junior doctors this month, but we have taken steps to alleviate the immediate risk by recruiting extra staff and arranging shifts to ensure patient safety is never put at risk.

“This transformation project is an opportunity to reorganise our service with a modern team-based approach that is inclusive of doctors, midwives, nurses, allied health staff and management. It has the potential to make Waikato Women’s Health service one of the best in the country.

“I want to reassure women and their families in our community that Waikato Hospital remains a safe place in which to give birth and for gynaecological procedures.

“I look forward to working with staff to further improve our service in the ways identified by both RANZCOG and our external reviewers.”

Women’s Health provides primary, secondary and tertiary level maternity, obstetrics and gynaecology services to Waikato residents and those in the Midland health region.

The transformation project aims to provide:

  • Delivery of contemporary and best practice models of clinical care for mothers and newborns that make better use of resources.
  • A culture of excellence that is attractive to clinicians and trainees.
  • Having the right information to be able to target efforts to areas of greatest opportunity for performance improvement.
  • Strengthened training, education and research capabilities.
  • Continual improvement in the quality and safety of clinical care.
  • Enhanced ability to prioritise and allocate resources to support long term success.

Read the executive summary of the report

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