What does it look like to build quality improvement into the strategic priorities of your organisation, using QI methodology to address your most pressing challenges?

Posted by: Kerry McGinty - Posted on:

By Kathryn Perera

In the second week of July, I had an extraordinary week, experiencing the results of incredible QI work in two different health and care settings.

On Monday 10th July, my colleague Kerry McGinty and I visited Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, meeting with the Trust’s QI Team alongside the Chair, Sir David Fillingham. The Trust is committed to building up its QI capability across all aspects of its work, as well as playing a lead role in the development of improvement work in the Integrated Care System. We then toured the Initial Response Service, a coordinated service for people in need of urgent support, led by clinical leads, qualified mental health clinicians and experienced support staff. We saw how data and technical, when used systematically as part of an overall improvement approach, can make a significant difference to patient outcomes, staff experience and the efficiency and effectiveness of NHS services.

On Tuesday 11th July, we joined the Clinical Quality Academy Celebration at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. We heard directly from more than 50 NHS staff about the quality improvement projects they have co-developed and led, delivering positive impact across the Trust, from improved outcomes in maternity services to more person-centred, digitally enabled care in cardiology services. The quality of the work was exceptional – and it was one of the best celebration / recognition events I have ever been privileged to attend.

My takeaway learning?

#1 Making time to celebrate in a structured way really matters. These events build the collective energy to ‘go again’ and ensure that learning is shared across team and organisational boundaries. They are a critical piece of the jigsaw to grow supportive, kind and outcomes-focused cultures in our workplaces.

#2 Anchor your small changes in a large-scale framework. ‘A thousand flowers blooming’ / ‘Building a strategy for change’ – these are not a binary choice. When making improvements, take time to plan your multi-year vision and strategic objectives to achieve it. Then ‘start anywhere, follow it everywhere’ and constantly connect your improvement projects back to the bigger aim.

#3 Executive leaders who actively support the improvement vision are critical. In both Preston and Blackpool, I saw the power of leaders in the formal hierarchy devoting time to listening and learning from people leading change at the point of care. When these two ‘spheres of influence’ (practitioners leading change and executives coordinating the environment for change) mutually reinforce each other’s positive work, magic happens.

Huge thanks to Ailsa Brotherton, Ursula Martin, Gary Sutton, Marion Fountain, David Fillingham and the whole team at Lancs and South Cumbria. And a huge thanks to Katharine Goldthorpe, Emma Wiper, Michelle Chunger and the whole team at Blackpool. @BTHQIHub #BTHCQA

Check out this video where I gave my reflections on incredible celebration event:

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