How nice is that? The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is an independent executive board of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which publishes rules in four aspects: clinical practice, general medical practice, patient care and environment and occupational health. Its mission is “to improve the quality of health and the safety of patients and personnel at the same time”. It sets the basic standards of practice across the industry, set the ethical standards for medical professionals and provide training and information on how to enhance these standards.
So why is the NHS looking at quality standards in clinical practice, occupational health and social care services? One reason is that it is expensive! Cutting corners on all these fronts would reduce the income available from the premiums paid by the general public. If everyone followed the rules and regulations, then the budget could not cope, and that would put forward the question of whether the NHS and other public health organisations are really worthwhile?
Another reason is that it may cost too much! Hospitals are absolutely dependent on the income earned from patients, and therefore any changes to the service which makes doing business more expensive will affect them. There is a danger that nice quality standards are no longer regarded as necessary for good clinical guidelines. This could lead to an erosion of faith in the NHS and other public health organisations. If standards are not high enough, then people are less likely to use them, and so will not benefit from them. They may just think that it is nice to have nice guidance from a health organisation but they will not bother using it if there is less of it.
This is where the idea of a national coordinating centre comes in. There is a kind of NHS clinical guidelines board that works to provide consistent guidance across the board, giving all services the high quality standards they require in order for them to provide services that people will find reliable and safe. The idea is to provide a kind of a safety net for everyone, so that everything can keep working well and people can keep using the services. But how does this fit in with the nice concept of a national coordinating centre?
Well, first of all, a safety net is not always necessary, particularly when there is no need to be extra careful. Clinical guidelines work by providing clear information about the risks of particular drugs, and encouraging people to take those drugs rather than avoiding them. However, if you can get people used to taking a special health authority drug by doing something nice, such as setting up a nice website, or giving out free samples, then you may well find that there is a change in attitude and willingness to use those drugs. You can also encourage patients to attend a special health authority meeting where they can learn more about the drugs, and perhaps take part in a training exercise.
However, if the health service were to try and change its branding so that it was more “friendly” (by putting its branding where people can see it), then this could have a real knock on effect. In other words, changing the branding for a brand when it doesn’t suit your branding is like trying to remove a decal from your car because it doesn’t fit. It will still have the same effect, namely that the car won’t look quite as nice as it did before. This is why it makes sense to use social care guidance as a way to get people talking and thinking about safety, rather than simply rely on the traditional media. Therefore, I would recommend that any organisation looking to improve its branding uses social care information services.