iQUASER workshop for NHS Trust Boards

Helping NHS Trusts develop their quality strategies

Quality and quality improvement are now recognised as imperative for all NHS organisations in England. A recent workshop brought together leaders of six NHS Trusts to develop their organisation-wide quality improvement strategies.

QUASER (Quality and Safety in European Union Hospitals) is a research-based tool senior hospital leadership teams can use to identify the strengths and possible weaknesses in their organisation’s quality and safety improvement efforts, and what they need to do to improve. The QUASER Guide was the result of a three year project in 5 European countries which studied organisational and cultural factors influencing quality improvement (QI). The intervention provides suggested strategies for how Trusts could be organised better in order to deliver high quality and safe services.

Implementing QUASER in the UK 

The QUASER intervention is being implemented in the UK by one of NIHR CLAHRC North Thames’ industry partners, the Foresight Centre for Governance within GE Healthcare Finnamore. Foresight works with public services to develop and improve leadership and Board-level effectiveness. It is helping Boards in six NHS Trusts develop their organisation-wide QI strategies through QUASER.

Evaluating the intervention

In parallel to this work the CLAHRC is conducting an evaluation of this intervention to assess and understand its impact within the six Trusts taking part. As one of the projects under our Innovations in systems and models of health and health care research theme researchers will use quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the total costs & benefits of the different interventions.

The iQUASER Workshop

A workshop in early November was run by the Foresight Centre and offered the chance for the six participating Trust Boards to develop their organisation-wide quality improvement strategies. The one-day workshop brought together all participating NHS trusts. 23 board level executives and non-executives came together with the overriding aim to develop a collective understanding of the QUASER Guide, learn about the evidence which underpins it and develop a clear sense of the elements of an effective quality improvement strategy.

Prior to the event, senior leaders from the Trusts received analysis of their current QI strategic position, having completed the QUASER guide self-assessment tool. Trusts were able to review, reflect and discuss their results both in terms of areas of strength and those that may require further focus.

In the afternoon the board level executives convened to participate in the first of three ‘action learning sets’ aimed at creating a supportive environment for participating organisations to draw on their collective experience and wisdom of those present.

Next steps – By the close of the day the participants arrived at specific goals or commitments to take their quality improvement strategies and interventions forward. The group will reconvene for the second of three action learning sets in January.

Background to the iQUASER project  – the quality improvement agenda in the NHS

The Francis Report reinforced the need for effective quality improvement strategies within NHS Trusts. All NHS organisation in England are being mandated to provide care that is clinically effective, safe and provides as positive an experience for patients as possible. Successful improvement programmes are vital for achieving this so this programme is particularly timely.

For more information about the QUASER project and the Guide see: The QUASER project

Dr Lorelei Jones

I am an anthropologist with interests in organisations, professions and expertise. My doctoral research was on the politics of hospital planning in England. My current work is looking at the role of boards in quality improvement in hospitals. I am co-convener of the London Medical Sociology Group and a member of the Society for Studies in Organizing Healthcare.

Dr Natalia Lewis

Dr Natalia Lewis is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, QMUL. She was trained as a physician and completed her PhD at the North-Western State Medical University, Russian Federation, investigating prevalence and associations of domestic violence and abuse among women patients attending Russian general practice. Her post-doc projects included longitudinal analysis of HPA axis functioning in abused women (CEASE study), evaluation of a training intervention for general practice on domestic violence and child safeguarding (RESPONDS study) and review of grey literature on interventions for children exposed to domestic violence and abuse (IMPROVE study). She is a member of the IRIS/ CLAHRC research team working on post-implementation evaluation of IRIS intervention in five northeast London boroughs (http://www.clahrc-norththames.nihr.ac.uk/iris/).