The Healthcare Commission has called for action to improve services for people with chronic lung disease. This call coincided with the publication of our report on a national study of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD affects up to one in twenty Britons and kills more than 30,000 people each year. The term COPD is used to describe a range of chronic chest conditions including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is an incurable but largely preventable condition that causes breathing difficulties through long term damage to the lungs. Predominantly smoking related, it particularly affects older people and is more prevalent in areas with high levels of deprivation.
Working with patients and the public
Over the last five months we have met more than 750 patients and members of the public at a series of events and meetings to talk to them about the kind of information the Healthcare Commission should be providing, what the annual health check is about and how best to involve patients and the public in our work. The exercises included consultations by post and e-mail, and meetings with groups led by patients and users of services, voluntary groups and people from black and minority ethnic groups. We held workshops with people recruited from the general public and regional events with members of patient and public involvement forums, overview and scrutiny committees and board members of foundation trusts. We will publish a report about what these activities told us on our website and build on this advice, testing ideas and suggestions in practice over the next 12 months.
International healthcare conference in London
Later this month you will be able to register for the International Society for Quality in Health Care's (ISQua) annual conference, taking place from 22nd to 25th October, which the Healthcare Commission is hosting. ISQua is a non-profit, independent organisation with members in more than 70 countries and each year it holds a conference in a different part of the world. The theme for this year's conference is Improving healthcare: the challenge of continuous change. Professor Sir Ian Kennedy will be welcoming a wide range of high profile national and international speakers including, from the UK, Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt MP, Secretary of State for Health, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health, Professor Sir Brian Jarman, Head of Dr Foster unit at Imperial College, Sir John Oldham, GP and Head of the National Primary Care Development Team. The Healthcare Commission is also running a series of events at the conference on topics including the annual health check and providing accessible information.
Consultation on annual health check
We received in the region of 200 responses from a wide variety of groups to our consultation on the way we propose to assess healthcare organisations in 2006/2007. We published the consultation document, Developing the annual health check in 2006/2007 in March. The 12 week consultation closed on June 5th and we are now analysing the responses, which came from patients and the public, other regulators, healthcare organisations, medical royal colleges and professional bodies among others. We will use these responses to help us develop the annual health check for next year, which will be its second year in operation.
Working with clinicians
The Healthcare Commission is committed to working with clinicians to ensure that the ways in which we assess healthcare, in both the NHS and the independent healthcare sector, will lead to improvements for patients. Our new bulletin [email protected] the frontline? will keep clinicians up to date with our work, provide information relevant for clinical practice and enable clinicians to provide feedback and suggestions about our work. The bulletin is published on our website and to subscribe, please e-mail [email protected]
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