Ryan Palmer

Ryan is a Health Foundation Improvement Science PhD Student  working under the primary supervision of Prof. Martin Utley. Ryan’s project has the working title “Operational Research towards outcome driven community health services” and will involve working alongside the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) within the context of their community healthcare services.

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

Jennifer Martin

Jennifer has a BSc hons in Human Biology, Sociology and Psychology and an MSc from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has a background in non-clinical public health with experience working in Nepal and Zimbabwe. She is part of the Nurture Early for Optimal Nutrition team based at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. Her PhD is exploring the Reverse translation of the women’s groups using the Participatory Learning and Action Cycle from resource-limited setting to the UK. She will be adapting this model to address infant nutrition in the Bangladeshi population of Tower Hamlets, east London.

New funding success

Professor Lakhanpaul (pictured above third from left) is one of three international collaborations based at UCL to receive Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) awards, in recognition of research partnerships improving health in low and middle income countries.

Professor Lakhanpaul is Deputy Lead for our Child Health research theme, and leads our NEON study – a participatory female health volunteer led intervention to promote healthy nutrition in children of Bangladeshi origin in East London.

The Professor specialises in integrated community child health and is an international expert in the creation and implementation of guidelines in healthcare, with a track-record of co-production with communities to develop tailored health interventions. She combines this with work as practising consultant community paediatrician at Whittington Health.

The innovative partnerships arising from the GCRF awards will focus on optimising infant feeding practices in rural India, using technology to support HIV prevention in South Africa, and shaping future policies for the control of non-communicable diseases around the world.

Professor Lakhanpaul will work with Professor Marie Lall (UCL Institute of Education and Pro-Vice-Provost South Asia) and Dr Priti Parikh (UCL Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering) to develop an integrated health, education and environmental intervention to optimise infant feeding practices through schools and Anganwadi networks in India.

Professor Lakhanpaul said: “We are delighted to be receiving the award to support our research, which builds on the work I have been leading in the UK with the CLAHRC in Tower Hamlets.”

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.

Professor Sonia Johnson

Professor Johnson’s research interests are in the clinical and social needs and the treatment outcomes of people with significant mental health problems such as psychosis and bipolar disorder. Professor Johnson is a Principal Investigator in the CLAHRC’s mental health theme working on a project to develop and test a self-management smartphone app for early psychosis.