Service Quality and Service Promises
Posted: 5 January, 2010 by Colin Adamson
Constitutional Issues in the Health Service
We are busy putting together our response to the latest consultation on the NHS Constitution which you will see soon. It has set the old hare running of whether statements of service quality are worth the paper they are written on – however grandiose the label. The latest moniker of ‘Constitution’ is the most recent manifestation of an ancient cult of service quality codes, charters, commitments, manifestos. Consumers have seen a lot of promises pass under their noses and disappear without a trace from the institutional history only to be revived by the new service manager who rewrites and reissues them with a new logo and a different phone number. The approach is now an international one as I saw on a recent trip to Kenya.
So how do they do it in the Kilifi District Hospital north of Mombasa. How have the management addressed the question of service levels and commitments? They have a vision – health services that are ‘acceptable, accessible and affordable to all’.
The service charter commitment painted on the wall in different places around the hospital which is associated with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). Below is the main board near the entrance with the service commitment, the prices and the time you get.
See how the notice of the Citizen’s Service Charter below has both the general claim ‘within the shortest time possible’ together with specific claims about timelines of up to 30 minutes for emergency surgery and the price to be paid. The final approved ingredient is the person/ position to be contacted with a complaint.
There was no display recording achievement of these stated aims – perhaps this is something that could be added to the research being done by KEMRI working with the Wellcome Trust and Oxford University on that site into malaria and other infectious diseases.Tweet