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GHA sets out core values in new Constitution

GHA Constitution 080519 { seq} ( Photo John Bugeja) introduced by Hon Neill Costa in the presence of the St Bernard's clinical staff

The Gibraltar Health Authority yesterday unveiled its “first ever” Constitution, formally outlining its principles, values, and pledges.

The Constitution encompasses patient rights and obligations, as well as the GHA’s pledges which include quality of care, respect and transparency.

The Minister for Health Neil Costa launched the Constitution yesterday alongside key members of staff including Medical Director Daniel Cassaglia.

Mr Costa described the Constitution as the GHA’s “commitment” to patient health, care and wellbeing.

“The Constitution is to make sure that we treat our patients to a professional standard of care by appropriately qualified and experienced practitioners,” Mr Costa told reporters.

He stressed that under the new Constitution patients are also required to meet their “obligations” such as ensuring there are registered with a GP and adhere to vaccination requirements.

Embedded within in the Constitution is the refusal of access to GHA services if a patient displays abusive and violent behaviour.

Further obligations for patients include keeping to appointments, treating GHA staff with respect and taking responsibility for their health.

“One of the key elements for the constitution is that we ask for feedback, both positive and negative,” Mr Costa said.

“The GHA is not going to grow in excellence, compassion, accountability and expertise unless we hear directly from our patients.”

Patient rights of confidentiality, access, participation, respect, safety and feedback are also covered by the Constitution.

Dr Cassaglia described the Constitution as the GHA’s “written commitment” to patients and staff.

“This will help staff and guide them to doing a great job,” Dr Cassaglia said.

“It will help the GHA to make sure it’s offering the right services in the right way, and importantly it will help patients hold us to account.”

“By setting this Constitution we are making public our commitment to the future and continuous improvement of the GHA.”

Dr Cassaglia added that it was a “proud day” for the GHA to offer this Constitution for both staff and patients.

Head of Clinical Governance Professor Derek Burke outlined that staff not adhering to the Constitution will be held accountable based on the GHA’s code of conduct and contractual obligations.

But added that the GHA aims to move away from a “blame culture” and towards “positive learning” as an organisation.

“When things go wrong we will be working out what went wrong in conjunction with families, patients and carers, why they went wrong and how we improve them” Professor Burke said.

He added: “We are taking this as a very positive, proactive, process of working together collaboratively and not as a blame culture.”

In cases of reports, Professor Burke said the GHA has the ability to acquire external reviews.

“The important principle is that organisations should be able to self-manage,” Professor Burke said.

For any organisation needing extensive external input, Professor Burke said that organisation would likely have “something wrong with its management structure”.

Pic by Johnny Bugeja