Nadia Chambers Consultant Nurse for Older People, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust
Allan Jolly Lecturer in Mental Health Studies, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Southampton
Essence of Care (DoH 2001) developed from a commitment to explore the benefits of benchmarking in improving the quality of the fundamental and essential aspects of care (DoH 1999). The NHS Plan (DoH 2000) reinforced the importance of getting the basics right and improving the patient’s experience. During the 18 months since the publication of the Essence of Care clinical benchmarks (DoH 2001), it has moved steadily from political rhetoric to clinical reality in the Central South Regional Group (CSRG). This article describes the role of the CSRG steering committee in co-ordinating the implementation of Essence of Care. This involved:
Education about the benchmarking process.
Support for implementation of the benchmarks.
Evaluation of the process to date.
Direction for future developments.
The CSRG steering committee comprises representation from many of the trusts in the CSRG (Table 1), as well as the University of Southampton and New Forest PCT.