Thursday, 3 December 2009

Peer Review in the West Midlands

Steve Smith, Clinical Lead for the West Midlands Renal Network, has been an advocate of peer review for many years so it was no surprise when I visited the Network recently that peer review was on the agenda; and what a good job Steve and his multiprofessional renal team colleagues, patients and the West Midlands quality review service have done! This has been as much about patient experience as policies and protocols.

The purpose of the peer review programme is to help providers and commissioners of services for people with end stage renal failure to improve the quality of services by:

  • Ensuring evidence based quality requirements are developed and kept up to date
  • Undertaking peer review visits to ensure compliance with quality requirements for services with
  • people with end stage renal failure, including renal transplantation
  • Providing development and learning for all involved in the peer review programme, especially those who act as reviewers
  • Providing comparative information on compliance with ESRF quality requirements and identifying common themes across the West Midlands
  • Monitoring action taken by providers and commissioners to address issues identified by quality assurance visits and if necessary ensuring appropriate action is taken.

As far as possible the peer review visits took a patient pathway approach including for example links between the renal units and the acute hospitals within which they are located. The review teams consisted of service users and carers, nursing, medical, technical, dietetic, specialist commissioners and public health. Individuals were chosen for their good communication and interpersonal skills including ability to listen but also to probe and search for evidence on which to base conclusions.

The cycle of visits in the West Midlands has now finished and the Network team are pulling the individual unit and regional reports together. I will be interested to read them and see what conclusions are drawn. I bet Richard Fluck, Clinical Lead for the East Midlands Renal Network will also look at take what’s best from it for their development of a patient inspectorate for the Network. In the meantime, the "Standards for Services for Patients with End Stage Renal Failure, Including Renal Transplantation" documentation which the peer review teams used makes interesting reading and provides a template that can be applied locally or Network-wide elsewhere in the country.