Cheshire and  Merseyside Launches Quality Principles for Long Waiters 

November 24, 2021

Due to the impact of Covid 19 there are significant numbers of patients waiting much longer than expected for treatment. As such, there is an increased risk that patients may have come to some form of harm.

Systems and processes are in place across Cheshire and Merseyside for validating waiting lists for surgical and diagnostic treatment. Processes are also in place for conducting clinical harm reviews. However, there is variation in how and when clinical harm reviews are conducted.

We have joined forces across Cheshire and Merseyside and developed a set of “Quality Principles” which have been adopted for use across Cheshire and Merseyside. A total of 11 quality principles have been developed, based on learning to date from staff and patient experiences. Cheshire and Merseyside local Healthwatch groups, including Healthwatch Halton, were key partners in the development of the quality principles, contributing valuable patient feedback and experiences around the impact of long waits for treatment.

The quality principles are based on the research and evidence gathered to date from the pandemic locally & nationally and from the findings of the “Marmot Review 10 years on”. The aim is to reduce health inequalities and promote learning across Cheshire and Merseyside by implementing a shared approach to improving the overall patient experience, by adopting the principles of duty of candour in terms of openness, fairness and transparency and improve the process of conducting Clinical Harm Review through better communications and support for patients waiting to enable them to live life well.

The quality principles are aligned to national guidance on clinical harm reviews as well as being aligned to national clinical validation programmes. The quality principles will be used in collaboration with waiting list validation and Clinical Harm Review processes and do not replace the need for these processes but will support the overall improvement in patient experiences whilst waiting treatments.

Implementation of the quality principles will enhance patient experiences through the clinical harm review process, prioritising patient groups that are known to experience health inequalities. It will also support effective learning from clinical harm reviews, thereby reducing the risk of avoidable harm and promote improved communications with patients waiting by applying the principles of duty of candour.

Quality Principles for long waits


Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On – The Health Foundation