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
Professor Morris’ research interests are primarily in the cost-effectiveness of interventions to improve health across a range of disease areas and population groups, and the determinants of health service use.
Estella is a health economist with an interest in social welfare and health inequalities.
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 Jessica Sheringham has research interests in questions that have an impact on reducing inequalities in healthcare and access to appropriate healthcare. Her research spans respiratory disease sexual health and cancer, using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. She is also an honorary consultant in public health at Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Groups.