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Healthcare professionals' quality improvement resource

3 November 2014

The West of England Academic Health Science Network is developing a new resource that will support healthcare professionals across the West to develop quality improvement (QI) skills and ensure that best-practice is implemented across the region; improving patient safety and care, and making a real difference to patients' lives.

It is widely recognised that one of the most important challenges for the NHS, in the words of Professor Don Berwick, is "to become a system devoted to continual learning and improvement of patient care". Thanks to new funding from the NHS Regional Innovation Fund, the West of England AHSN's resource - or QI learning community - will address this challenge by supporting frontline NHS staff and staff from small and medium-sized enterprises to draw on expertise from clinicians, academics and industry, and apply evidence-based approaches to improving patient safety.

Coming at the same time as the launch of the National Patient Safety Collaborative, it will build on both local and national activity to create a co-ordinated, regional QI capability and ensure that the West of England cements its world-class reputation for quality improvement.

More specifically, the new learning community will offer a range of support and tools from online resources and materials through to workshops and master-classes. It will provide access to research and development (R&D) as well as a dedicated network of academics, industry partners and clinicians with a track record of delivering innovative and sustained service improvements. Patients and carers will also be trained to understand the latest thinking in quality improvement so that they can support healthcare providers to improve the service they deliver throughout the region.

Research has shown that the quality of healthcare offered to patients can vary from one region to the next (and even within the same region). While the reasons for this are complex, it is clear that healthcare professionals need to be knowledgeable and confident in the use and sharing of quality improvement science to combat this issue. By trialling a variety of ways to share knowledge across the 45,000 healthcare staff in the West, this new learning community will support the spread of knowledge about quality improvement science, patient safety skills, industry liaison and innovation in the NHS. It is hoped that this will, in turn, lead to rapid and widespread uptake of new research and technologies, and result in improved outcomes - and a better experience - for patients. In short, more lives could be improved, transformed and even saved.

Anna Burhouse, Director of Quality at the West of England AHSN, said: "This new 'learning academy' will support the development of quality improvement science skills among West of England AHSN member organisations, building on the great work they are already doing. With fewer resources and increased demand on the NHS, this funding is recognition that the West of England AHSN is uniquely placed to bring all of the key stakeholders together, offering efficiency and ensuring that continuous quality improvement remains at the heart of healthcare in the West."

For more information, contact Dave Evans at the West of England AHSN ( or 0117 900 2249).

Healthcare professionals' quality improvement resource
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