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Fast track to quality: 6 critical areas

The Negotiated Service Delivery Agreement is performance management system with concrete roles for all stakeholders and regular obligatory monitoring. This means all efforts must be directed towards improving the health status of communities, strengthening the effectiveness of the health system and improving the quality of care provided.

According to the Constitution of South Africa, all citizens have the right to healthcare that is caring, free from harm and as effective as possible. For more than 10 years, the principles of Batho Pele or “people first” have encapsulated the stated values of our public service. These principles are a simple and transparent mechanism which is intended to empower patients to hold the health services accountable for the quality of care they deliver. They are intended as a benchmark or standard for effective quality service delivery within the public sector as a whole.

The Patient Rights Charter has made clear the responsibilities of our health facilities in delivering care that meets the principles of Batho Pele. The Charter specifies that the most critical rights of patients should be respected and upheld, including the rights of access to basic care and to respectful, informed and dignified attention in an acceptable and hygienic environment. Patients should be empowered to make informed decisions about their health and to complain if they have not received decent care.

The National Core Standards were developed over the past 2 years as a tool for management to guide their expected practice and assess whether they are in line with what is required (including the requirements of the Patients Rights Charter). They also serve to benchmark all establishments against the same expected standards and will form the basis for external inspections to certify whether or not they are complaint. Over time, the process of monitoring compliance will result in significant improvements in the effectiveness and quality of the health system as a whole

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