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Health and safety is one of the most important aspects that an organization has to take into consideration. Procedures for health and safety are essential for the well being of both, the employees as well as the employer (Smith and Mireles, 2011). In health and social care, this is even more essential with respect to the health of the patients and the visitors. The present report depicts the importance of health and safety in a health and social care workplace. In the report, health and safety at Holy Cross hospital has been discussed. Implementation of health and safety legislation has been understood. Impact of these requirements on the customers and the work of the practitioners have been discussed.
While caring for a patient at Holy Cross hospital, a number of individual are involved such as doctors, practitioners, and nurses etc. As such, the following systems, policies and procedures are adopted for communicating information about the patient in accordance with the legislative requirements.
Holy Cross Hospital follows the policy for maintenance of privacy of the information of the clients. This policy is in accordance with the Federal Health Insurance Accountability Act (Corbett, Travaglia and Braithwaite, 2011). As per this piece of legislation, national standard is set for the hospital to ensure the privacy of health information. This policy that the hospital employs requires the staff to take care for the provision of highest protection to the medical details of the client. Information about their health is considered to be the most sensitive by the people. As such, the hospital ensures that such information is disclosed only after consent has been obtained from the respective service user. This policy also helps the hospital in maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of the health particulars of its patients.
The hospital follows a system as per which it cannot detain those patients who suffer with a mental disorder until it has the capability to provide all the possible medical treatment to the client. This system is in accordance with the Mental Health Act, 2007 (Strobl and Madhok, 2012). As per this act, Holy Cross hospital forms various policies and procedures for people suffering from a mental disorder.
Holy Cross hospital has employed a system for lawfully disclosing personal information. This system is in accordance with The Census (Confidentiality) Act 1991 (NHS Information Governance, 2007). Hence, disclosure of the information about a person is done in a lawful manner by the staff of the hospital. The hospital staff ensures that consent is obtained from a patient only after he has been informed about the reason for consenting. The staff takes care that the patients provide their consent freely. As such, a procedure is followed which ensures that the clients are not forced to give their consent.
The hospital has formulated a policy for processing of personal data which is governed by The Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998. As per this act, the personal data held manually and on computer is processed in an organized manner (Iedema and Carroll, 2011). Processing includes holding, obtaining, using, recording, sharing and disclosure. While doing so, the hospital staff complies with the principles of data protection. Certain principles are followed by the hospital as per which the professionals are required to employ an open and direct manner for collecting information lawfully from the patients. Information is not kept in the hospital any longer than it is needed. Also, the staff makes sure that the details about the health of a patient are stored in a secure manner. Hence, in this way, the hospital checks and thereby prevents any unauthorized access.
The organizational structure of Holy Cross hospital consists of director, senior manager, physicians, supervisors, nurses and caretakers. Each of them has their own responsibilities for managing the health and safety in the hospital. The director of the hospital is responsible for regular inspections of the staff and approving the policies and procedures formulated by the managers (Ibrahim and et.al., 2013). It is his responsibility that appropriates the procedures for promoting health and safety in the hospital are approved and implemented.
The senior manager is accountable for protecting the welfare of the staff and the patients. He ensures that the health and safety and various other policies approved by the director are implemented. He is also responsible for ensuring that all the others working in the hospital fulfill their responsibility towards providing health and safety (Walsh and Antony, 2007). It is his duty to form the various policies and procedures regarding the provision of safe environment to the patients and healthy working conditions to the staff. He is also responsible for conducting regular risk assessments in the hospital. As such, it is he who ensures that safe entrance and exit to the patients, visitors as well as the staff are provided. The manager is responsible for ensuring that all the equipments in the hospital are maintained in safe conditions. It is his responsibility to conduct regular training for the staff so as to make them competent in the safe handling and use of chemicals.
The supervisors are responsible for providing the facilities such as wash basins, toilets, clean drinking water etc. It is their duty to provide the pregnant women, older people and the disabled people with special attention with regards to provision of such facilities (Adams, 2007). They are accountable for informing the senior management about the possible hazards or the accidents and risks in the hospital. The nurses and caretakers have the responsibility of following the systems, policies and procedures designed by the management. They are responsible for following the codes of practice as given by the senior manager and director.
Case study- Holy Cross Hospital recently faced a health and safety issue. There was an accident while moving and handling goods form one part of the hospital top the other. The reason behind this was that the hospital floor was not clean enough. Also, poor moving and handling practices were followed. The result was that not only the voluntary worker moving the goods was injured, but also a patient and a visitor with him got injured (Akintoye and Chinyio, 2005). Considering the case, health and safety priorities for Holy Cross hospital can be analyzed in the following manner:
As the health and safety policy outlines the legal duties of Holy Cross hospital, it impacts the health and social care practices as well as the clients. One of the aspects of health and safety policy of Holy Cross hospital is prevention of trips and falls. This aspect prevents the trips and falls of staff, visitors and patients. There is a significant impact of this aspect as it becomes the foundation for the customs and practices followed at the hospital (Collins, 2009). The staff is provided training which makes them competent to move and handle equipments in a way that prevents falls. As such, they are able to work in a safe manner. Also, this aspect enables them to work in an uninterrupted way. The patients are influenced in a positive manner as they feel safe and protected from falling and injuring themselves.
Holy Cross Hospital encounters the dilemma related to differences in the priorities between different stakeholders. For example, an old age patient has been admitted to the hospital with learning disabilities. He is forgetful and is not able to perform tasks well. He expresses his wish to go out and buy a newspaper. As an individual, he has the right to move out freely. But it is the priority of the hospital staff and caretakers to protect him and care for him. As such, they cannot allow him to go out alone owing to his old age and learning disability. Hence, this is a dilemma that the hospital often faces related to health, safety and security. This can be addressed by implementing proper training programs for the staff so that they know how to deal with such situations (Ellstrom, 2012). This training should be focused on making them competent in communication skills so that they succeed in convincing such patients. This dilemma can also be addressed by conducting risk assessment on regular basis and changing the roles and responsibilities of staff. This will equip the staff with necessary skills.
When the actions taken by a hospital and the services provided are not as per the criteria and quality standards, it is non compliance. This has serious consequences for Holy Cross hospital. Non compliance with the health and safety legislation puts the life of the hospital staff, patients as well as the visitors at considerable risk. It will also make the work done in an unsafe manner which may harm the clients and other people associated with the hospital. This will make the hospital liable for enforcement actions taken by Care Quality Commission (CQC). CQC performs the duty of a watchdog by ensuring that the services of highest quality are provided by the health and social care organizations to the hospital (About us, 2013). Non compliance with health and safety legislation will also raise several moral implications for the hospital. The staff will not feel proud to work in such a place that does not take care of their safety. Also, lesser number of patients will prefer to get treated in such a hospital which will decrease the revenues of the hospital.
The health and safety policies at Holy Cross hospital are monitored and reviewed by conducting an audit of the risks. This criterion is followed for assessing the performance of the policy. It also helps in examining the working of the policy. Formal reviews are conducted by the managers of the hospital. These reviews help in ascertaining the current state of the policies and practices. The senior managers carry out local inspection of each and every department of the hospital. In this way, they are able to evaluate the success of the policies and practices and whether they are being implemented or not (Savage and Ford, 2008). Specific and routine reports are provided to the board regarding the improvements that the various policies and practices have brought in the hospital. Active monitoring is done which helps in knowing the extent to which the policy is being implemented in the various areas of Holy Cross Hospital.
The effectiveness of health and safety policies can be elicited from the fact that these help Holy Cross Hospital in provision of a safe and healthy working environment that promotes the well being of all. These policies reduce the chances of accidents. As such, the damage to the staff, patients and visitors is reduced (Podger, Rooney and Hackitt, 2008). Hence, these policies enable the hospital to fulfill its priorities and thus promote safety culture. With reduced risks, the health and safety approaches help in maintaining a risk free environment. This also helps in making the workforce more competent for performing their job. By working on the aspect of routine consultation with the staff, the wellbeing of all the people is promoted.
Gibb’s reflective cycle has been used for assessing own contribution to placing the health and safety needs of the people at the centre of practice. This is inclusive of describing the situation, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion and actions. I work at Holy Cross hospital and have contributed to the formulation of safety policies. Considering my experience, I understood the importance of taking care of the needs of every person while providing treatment. I feel that it is one of the fundamental rights of every patient. However, despite conducting risk assessment, actions arising out of it have not been undertaken at the hospital. As such, I am required to develop skills so that policies are successfully implemented. I also need to learn skills for encouraging the staff members to follow the steps for undertaking the actions arising out of risk assessment. If faced with the same situation in future, I will ensure that necessary actions are taken after conducting risk assessment.
The tasks discussed in the previous section helped in enhancing my knowledge about the safety aspect in a health care organization. This provided me with the prospect of developing understanding regarding the implementation of systems and procedures in accordance with the legislations. While completing the tasks, I was able to apply analytical and writing skills. I identified the ways in which health requirements impact the work of practitioners and clients. Along with this, I was able to develop an in-depth understanding as to how dilemmas related to implementation of systems; policies and procedures could be addressed. I learnt how to use skimming and reading skills while answering these questions. I also got an opportunity to develop my research skills during the analysis of the effect of non compliance with safety legislation on a hospital.
The research skills assisted me in gathering appropriate information with respect to explaining the monitoring and reviewing of policies in a hospital. Efforts were made by me to apply theoretical aspects related to the safety in health care organization. Practical situations were analyzed by me for identifying the effectiveness of health and safety policies in promoting safety culture in a workplace. This provided me an opportunity to utilize various secondary sources of information such as online website and research papers. I ensured that the sources used by me are authentic and contain reliable information.
Health and safety are two vital aspects for a health and social care setting. These impact the staff as well as the patients. Holy Cross hospital has successfully implemented health and safety policy. Various dilemmas encountered are effectively addressed by the hospital. Health and safety priorities, such as provision of safe working environment and following legislations, are fulfilled by the hospital.
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