Unity Health faces changes following negative report

Health provision at the University of York has been criticised as ‘inadequate’ [Image: Pixabay]

Unity Health is starting to change how it operates and receives feedback following lobbying from YUSU as well as a report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The changes relating to receiving feedback include ways for students to talk to members of Unity Health directly and were announced by Steph Hayle, YUSU’s Community and Wellbeing Officer.

The report from CQC looked into if services provided were efficient, safe and responsive amongst other categories, with all but whether they were caring or not being given an ‘inadequate’ rating. The inspection took place at Wenlock Terrace Surgery in May of 2018, and the report was published in July. The findings were based on both the inspection of the surgery and information provided by patients and providers of the surgery.

Hayle published an update on how Unity Health would receive feedback on 7 August. The changes being put in place mean that Unity Health will discuss issues with students face-to-face in order to help improve their practices. This individual access and opportunity to express opinions was previously unavailable to students in such a direct manner.

YUSU will be playing a large role in this, with four informal “drop-in” sessions being held at YorSpace over a two week period commencing in week three. Unity Health staff will be present to talk to students and allow them to talk about their experiences with the practice and how they think it could change for the better.

The Unity Health staff present will be partners at the practice and/or the practice manager. This means that students will be sharing their views and ideas for change with people who can directly implement change and improvements within Unity Health.

In addition, Hayle and a GSA representative will be part of the Patient Participant Group. They will be involved in meetings on a regular basis that can aid the practice as it tries to improve and ensure that students needs are included in the improvements.

The report clearly highlights the need for change. It determined that the level of safety, efficiency, responsiveness and how well-led services were all fell under an ‘inadequate’ level. In answer to whether the services were caring or not, the report found that they “required improvement”. The report outlined several issues it had found, including that patients struggled with the online consultation form as well as contacting the practice through the phone; the two main ways of communicating with the surgery.

Population groups were also assessed as to how well they were cared for, but every single group was found to be provided with inadequate services. These groups included the elderly, families, those of working age and people with poor mental health.

Unity Health’s Wenlock Terrace Surgery received a harsh report that surely reflected what many students already knew: Unity Health needs improvement. It is hoped that with the implementation of direct student feedback and the action required in the wake of the report, these improvements will take place and ensure that students and the community around the University will have access to the health care they need.

For more information on the report, follow this link: https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/AAAH3715.pdf

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