Consultation on a patient safety strategy for the NHS

Consultation on a patient safety strategy for the NHS

There’s a chance to have your say on ambitious proposals to halve avoidable patient harm.

NHS Improvement is consulting on a new, national patient safety strategy until 15 February. The strategy is being developed alongside the NHS Long Term Plan and aims to support the NHS to be the safest healthcare system in the world.

The document sets out how some types of avoidable harm to patients can be halved over the next five years in areas such as medication errors and ‘Never Events’, alongside developing a ‘just culture’ for the NHS where frontline staff are supported to speak up when errors occur.

A consultation document and survey is available online. The final strategy will be published in the spring.

Professor Mike Hurley, ESCAPE-pain developer nominated for Outstanding Individual of the Year award

HIN’s Professor Mike Hurley nominated for Outstanding Individual of the Year 2018

Professor Mike Hurley, Developer of the ESCAPE-pain programme, has been shortlisted for the Outstanding Individual of the Year award at this year’s Active Training Awards. Vote for him before 26 October 2018.

The Active Training Awards celebrates the success of the activity workforce and the very best of Learning and Development within the sector. Professor Mike Hurley has been nominated as a result of his relentless commitment to the development, implementation and evaluation of ESCAPE-pain, an evidence-based rehabilitation programme for people with chronic joint pain.

Professor Mike Hurley qualified as a physiotherapist in 1985 and obtained his PhD in 1992. Before dedicating his time to ESCAPE-pain, he was a lecturer, reader and professor of phsyiotherapy at King’s College London and a Professor of Rehabilitation Sciences at Kingston & St George’s. He chaired the UK Chartered Society of Physiotherapy’s Research and Clinical Effectiveness Committee, acted as Clinical Advisor to Versus Arthritis (Arthritis Research UK), as well as an advisor to the NICE committee drawing up clinical guidelines for osteoarthritis. He is currently also the research lead for the School of Rehabilitation Sciences.

Vote for Professor Mike Hurley now and follow @ESCAPE_pain on Twitter to follow the nomination. Award winners will be announced on 15 November 2018.

News, blogs and events

May 18, 2020

DigitalHealth.London Accelerator opens for applications

May 6, 2020

Guidance for Care Homes: Suspected Coronavirus Care Pathway

April 30, 2020

ESCAPE-pain resources to support people with chronic joint pain d…

April 18, 2024

Protected: Reducing access inequalities to proven lipid treatment…

April 11, 2024

Understanding investor attitudes to immersive technology for ment…

Award-winning ESCAPE-pain programme now online

Award-winning ESCAPE-pain programme now online

The award-winning ESCAPE-pain programme for the management of chronic joint pain is now available online to help ease the suffering of thousands of people across the country.

Chronic joint pain, or osteoarthritis, affects over 8.75 million people in the UK, including half the population over the age of 75, and one in five of the population over 45. A small proportion proceeds to surgical intervention while the vast majority are managed in the community with painkillers.

GPs typically spend around a day a week on appointments related to joint pain; by helping those people with joint pain undertake regular exercises evidenced to improve mobility and reduce pain, a large number of GP appointments can be freed for other people to be seen more quickly.

The new online version of ESCAPE-pain (Enabling Self-management and Coping with Arthritic Pain through Exercise), is a digital version of the well-established, face-to-face group programme that is now delivered in over 80 sites across the UK and is already being used to improve the lives of over 7,000 people with chronic joint pain.

Under the new digital programme, people can choose from 16 high-quality exercise videos to help improve joint pain including engaging animations and education videos to learn to manage their condition better. They can feel more in control of their pain through this free NHS resource developed by the South London-based Health Innovation Network which works to innovate health and care in the NHS.

Professor Mike Hurley, originator of the ESCAPE-pain programme, said:
“Thanks to ESCAPE-pain Online anybody with chronic knee or hip pain can now access the ESCAPE-pain programme regardless of where they live. ESCAPE-pain Online isn’t a replacement for attending the face-to-face programme, as that’s the most effective way to experience its benefits but it will support people to exercise safely and regularly in their own homes. People who are unable to attend a face-to-face programme or those who don’t have access to a smartphone can use ESCAPE-pain Online.”

Health Innovation Network Chief Executive Tara Donnelly said:
“ESCAPE-pain is a proven rehabilitation programme with a strong evidence base approved by NICE that is helping thousands of people who have been suffering in pain. By making use of digital technology and extending the programme through offering videos online, we are rolling out the potential benefit of this programme to many more people experiencing chronic joint pain; currently affecting one in five of the population over 45.”

ESCAPE-pain has been recognised with awards from both the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the British Society for Rheumatology, and is cited in the NICE clinical guidelines for osteoarthritis. More recently, ESCAPE-pain has been recommended as a preferred intervention for musculoskeletal conditions by Public Health England, which showed a positive Return on Investment of £5.20 for every £1 spent.

ESCAPE-pain Online is a free resource produced in the NHS by the Health Innovation Network and Salaso Solution Ltd. It is best viewed on a computer and is accessed via the ESCAPE-pain website homepage. For more information please visit or email Watch a film about ESCAPE-pain here.

South London Diabetes Education – Booking Service Contract awarded to Spirit Healthcare

Press Release: South London Diabetes Education Booking Service Contract awarded to Spirit Healthcare

Spirit to deliver new integrated diabetes education booking service to people with diabetes across the 12 south London CCGs

7 August 2018: The twelve south London Clinical Commissioning Groups, led by NHS Southwark CCG, along with the Health Innovation Network, the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for south London, are delighted to announce the award of a three-year contract to Spirit Healthcare to help people living with diabetes to select and book the most appropriate diabetes education course for them.

From October 2018, for the first-time, people with diabetes will be offered the choice of any diabetes education course available across south London. This will give them a much wider range of course location and timing options. This will provide the best possibility of increasing attendance rates and helping people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes to take more control of their own health.

Across south London records show that approximately 165,000 people have diabetes, and this is growing significantly every year. With current attendance rates for diabetes education lower than 10%, the partners led by NHS Southwark CCG, sought a solution to increase uptake of new, accessible education services. During the three years of the new contract, over 40,000 people are expected to benefit from the ability to access a wider range of courses in any part of south London.

Spirit is working collaboratively with Priority Digital Health, a forward thinking digital solution provider based in Cambridge, to develop and deliver this innovative booking service.
GPs and healthcare professionals will be able to refer people living with diabetes to the booking service and people with Type 2 diabetes will also be able to refer themselves and book their course online.

Caroline Gilmartin, Director of Integrated Commissioning NHS Southwark CCG, comments: “We are delighted to have awarded this contract to Spirit. They really understood our vision for this service and we believe this is a great opportunity to get many more people attending diabetes education courses giving them the skills and information to make positive lifestyle changes, take more control of their health and ultimately helping them to improve their health and well-being, whilst living with a long-term condition.

Tim Loveridge, Managing Director, Clinical Services, comments: “We are honoured to have been selected to partner with the south London CCGs and the Health Innovation Network to help people in south London access a broader, more accessible range of diabetes education services. We believe passionately that education is the key to empowering people to take control of their diabetes.”

Alison Meadows, Managing Director/Founder of Priority Digital Health added “We are delighted to have been selected to be Spirit Healthcare’s digital partner for this contract and look forward to deploying our and social prescribing geo-location technology platform in South London.”

The 12 South London CCGs are Bexley CCG, Bromley CCG, Croydon CCG, Greenwich CCG, Kingston CCG, Lambeth CCG, Lewisham CCG, Merton CCG, Richmond CCG, Southwark CCG, Sutton CCG and Wandsworth CCG. The CCGs map directly on to each of the south London Boroughs.

Upcoming Adult Safeguarding Masterclasses

Upcoming Adult Safeguarding Masterclasses

Health Innovation Network are hosting a series of Masterclass safeguarding seminars, supported by the Lambeth Safeguarding Adults Board.

Experts in the field will be providing information on specific topics and facilitating discussion amongst the attendees.

Running from September until December at the new Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton (Room THB-06 (60)), the sessions will last from 09:30 to 13:30 and will cover a number of areas (please see below). This opportunity is perfect if you are a professional from statutory, voluntary or other organisations who provide care and support for adults, their families and carers. Organisations who are interested in attending much be willing to contribute something towards the cost of the seminars.

If you would like members of your organisation to attend, you must be willing to contribute towards the seminars. Please contact Janna Kay to discuss your attendance further.

Meet south London’s new Digital Pioneers

Meet south London’s new Digital Pioneers

DigitalHealth.London has announced the launch of its prestigious 12-month Digital Pioneers Fellowship. It will support 23 ‘transformers’ (healthcare professionals from a range of disciplines), chosen from across London, in designing and leading transformation projects which are underpinned by digital innovation. Beginning in May 2018, the programme will help the chosen ‘transformers’ to accelerate their knowledge and capability, including supporting them in influencing, problem solving and business case development.

Nine of the 23 are from south London:

  • Rafiah Badat (Speech and Language Therapist and Clinical Research Fellow, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) is investigating the feasibility of a novel digital intervention for caseload children.
  • Rebecca Blackburn (Commissioner, East Merton Transformation and Partnership Manager, NHS South West London Alliance) is working on a project which will double appointment offerings in Merton, by creating two hubs within GP Practices.
  • Dr Thomas Coats (Haematology Registrar and Clinical Research Fellow, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) has built a tool which digitises text-rich clinical data from multiple sources, will calculate complex prognostic scores. give diagnostic prompts and highlight significant data.
  • Faye Edwards (National Programme Manager, AHSN Network) is leading a project advising AHSNs on an agreed approach regarding information governance and data collection, in order to demonstrate the impact of digital mobile ECG devices distributed to NHS providers via the AHSNs.
  • Jack Grodon (Senior Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist/Fracture Clinic Team Lead, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust) recently undertook a three-month project exploring the used of the app Physitrack to record patient exercise adherence, in addition to patient and staff satisfaction. The trial was successful, and he is hoping to implement Physitrack across his department.
  • Dr Husain Shabeeb (Consultant Cardiologist and Cardiac Electrophysiologist, Croydon Health Services NHS Trust) is screening patients for atrial fibrillation using Alivecor Kardia in the community.
  • Haris Shuaib (Magnetic Resonance Physicist, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust) is developing an AI-driven medical imaging quality assurance web application. His ambition is to host it on a cloud-hosting service as a community resources for radiology departments in the NHS, allowing them to contribute test images for performing quality analysis on their clinical imaging equipment.
  • Dr James Teo (Consultant Neurologist, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) is increasing patient safety by developing dashboards for operational management of infections, such as influenza and norovirus outbreaks.

Digital transformations are already vital within the public healthcare sector. The need for these skills is only set to increase, as our population ages and increases, with complex and diverse health needs, and as new, exciting (but sometimes difficult to spread) technologies become available and affordable.

Here’s why we love the project:

It will bring like-minded Digital Transformation Pioneers together

It takes a lot of patient, trouble-shooting and solving, training, and unfortunately, meetings, to make even small-scale changes in the NHS. In their January 2018 report, ‘Adoption and spread of innovation in the NHS‘, King’s Fund described the decision to introduce just one innovation in the NHS as creating a ‘domino effect’ – becoming, “in short, a lengthy period of iterative testing and refinement”. The eight case studies that the report draws upon are proof of the arduous nature of implementing change. Implementing new digital solutions means developing new methods, building new habits, breaking from the status quo, and – as is very often needed with any innovation – changing stubborn mind-sets. Throw in that this is within a complex system and an organisation which is 70 years old this year – and it’s easy to see that drive and passion is needed.

Programmes like Digital Transformation Pioneers put all that drive and passion into a room together – with experts who can create new, exciting possibilities. It provides a great support network for those who are attempting their digital transformation project.

It encourages wider collaboration

When organisations fail to collaborate and to communicate with each other on a regular basis, it leaves ample room for wastage and the reinventing of the wheel … over, and over, and over again.

Collaboration across London creates a better environment for all aspects of achieving fantastic patient care. The sharing of ideas – even ones as simple as Croydon University Hospital’s fall initiative (asking patients which side of the bed they prefer to get out of, in order to dramatically reduce falls) or the roll-out of new technologies, for example, via the new ITP – is a catalyst for positive change. We know that collaborative cultures create better conditions for research, learning and patient care. Schemes like the Digital Pioneer Fellowship encourage wider collaboration beyond the Fellows themselves.

Helping people to get things done

Anyone who has tried to attempt to have a hobby on top of their regular day-job can tell you that it’s a challenge. Imagine trying to instigate  a large-scale, transformation project which encourages use of new digital technologies, innovations and processes whilst also coping with the ever-challenging budget changes, population increases, and the wide range of additional issues that can occur in a busy health and care environment.

Through support and skills training, the Digital Pioneer Fellowship will quite simple provide the support these ‘Transformers’ to get things done. If they hit a road-block, the Fellowship team will be there to help them through it. If time is against them, having the protected time to take part in the Fellowship modules could make a huge difference.

Resilient, skilled digital leaders need all of the support we can give them. We wish them the best of luck and hope that they enjoy the programme.

If you want to find out more about the Digitial Pioneers Fellowship, visit DigitalHealth.London’s website.

Catheter Care Awareness Week 2018

Health Innovation Network to run Catheter Care Awareness Week for a third year

Catheter Care Awareness Week consists of five days of events and activities, in partnership with our member organisations, aiming to raise awareness of the risks of CAUTI (catheter-associated UTIs), reduce harm, fight stigma and improve general catheter care in south London and beyond. This year, it falls between 18 – 24 June.

Here’s how you and your organisation can get involved:

  • Host a ‘Catheter Care Awareness Week’ stall – with posters, badges, balloons and pledge cards, encourage patients and staff to talk about their catheter issues and fill out pledge cards, promising better care. See some of last year’s pledges and pictures.
  • Put up a poster to promote your event;
  • Wear your Catheter Care Awareness Week Badge;
  • Join our Tweetchat – held with @WeNurses, the #CatheterCare Tweetchat will take place during the week. Keep an eye on our Twitter (@HINsouthlondon) and News webpage to find out more information about this.
  • Spread the word! Tell your colleagues, family and friends about Catheter Care Awareness Week. Try changing your Twitter or Facebook picture to the Catheter Care logo to show support for the cause, or adding #cathetercare to your Twitter name;
  • Get your organisation’s Communications team to include this news piece in their e-newsletters and on the intranet;
  • Make a vlog – watch this one for inspiration;
  • Watch our Catheter Care Awareness Animation and share across social media;
  • Read and share Alice’s Story

If you are getting involved, please email with details of your eventthe list of activities and events. Please request the total of balloons and badges you predict you will use, and we will try our best to accommodate requests.

New Q members Welcome Event

HIN and ICHP welcome new members of Q

On 18 January, Patient Safety held a welcome event for new Q members from south and north west London alongside Imperial College Health Partners AHSN.

The Q Initiative is a long-term programme aiming to connect individuals and support their improvement work. It has been designed to complement and enhance other initiatives and networks. People in the Q Community pool together their knowledge, insight and connections – encouraging collaborative ways of making improvements.

The event was jam-packed with talks from a variety of speakers touching on a number of thought-provoking subjects. The delegates were also diverse – we welcomed 49 new members from across south London from a range of organisations including hospitals, charities, universities and CCGs.

Now we have a nucleus of Q members across the region, they are encouraged to take the initiative and self-organise we will be running a series of activities and workshops to support and advance our improvement efforts across south London. You can find out more about our improvement work in south London by visiting the patient safety pages on the HIN website or email

Please read further for a summary of the event.

The day started off with an introduction from our very own Patient Safety and Experience Director Catherine Dale. Catherine has more than fifteen years’ experience in improvement and transformation roles and gave an insight into quality improvement in an NHS capacity.

Penny Pereira, Deputy Director of Improvement at The Health Foundation gave a fascinating talk on ‘Q National Perspective’. She congratulated new Q members on joining the community and detailed the opportunities members can get involved with highlighting Twitter prompting Qs to follow @theQCommunity and follow conversations via #Qcommunity, sign up for RCTs (Random Coffee Trials) with other Qs and join a Special Interest Group via the Q member website. Penny talked about the Q Exchange launching in April where Q members can bid for funding to support their improvement ideas.

We then had a fantastic talk from former HINster Sheena Visram who is Quality Improvement Lead at Imperial NHS on ‘Building Local Context’. Sheena has significant provider experience and a focus on building a culture of continuous improvement. Sheena gave an inspiring talk about forming partnerships and socialising healthcare.

In the afternoon, delegates were able to choose from a range of workshops including:

  1. A Life QI demonstration from Jason Williams, Business Development Director. Life QI is a platform that enables frontline staff to easily run improvement projects, allows central QI teams to coordinate the portfolio of work and provides senior execs the targeted information they need to make crucial decisions. It facilitates communication and sharing amongst project teams and makes aggregating and reporting results simple. Life QI is available to all of our members. If you would like to sign up to QI, or hear more about it, please email Jemima Heard;
  2. Involving patients in QI led by Catherine Dale on Effectively involving and engaging patients in improvement work;
  3. Behavioural insights in healthcare led by Dan Berry, Behavioural Insights Strategist at Hill + Knowlton Strategies. This explored how behavioural science has and can be used to improve healthcare;
  4. Accountable care in healthcare led by Katja Behrendt, Innovation Delivery Manager and Dr Manpreet Bains, General Practitioner & Advisor, ICHP. This workshop looked at developing outcome based commissioning and accountable care systems;
  5. Bringing innovation into quality improvement led by Dr Shirlene Oh, Director of Commerce and Tim Morrell from ?What IF! Together, Tim and Shirlene explored bringing innovation into quality improvement.

We rounded off the day with a look into the future with Richard Taunt of Kaleidoscope health & care. Richard delivered a thought-provoking engaging session to get new Qs to think creatively about the future of health and care.

Now we have a great number of Q members across the region, they are encouraged to take the initiative and self-organise. However, we will be running a series of activities and workshops to support and advance our improvement efforts across south London. You can find out more about our improvement work in south London by visiting the patient safety pages on the HIN website or email

Digital Outpatients Collaborative

Digital Outpatients Collaboratives Recruiting NHS Trusts in London

Building on the success of their Digital Outpatients event in 2017, DigitalHealth.London, in partnership with NHS Improvement are launching two new Digital Outpatient Collaboratives. The deadline for applications is 31 January 2018.

Digital Outpatient Collaboratives will provide expert help to NHS Trusts within London who are working on Digital Outpatient Projects. These projects can be focused on many themes such as reducing DNA Rates, providing virtual consultations, or helping patients to self-care and self-manage outside of the traditional clinic setting. The team at DigitalHealth.London will support project teams within the Trusts by providing coaching, time and knowledge, helping teams to manage resources, evaluate their projects and share results and learnings.

The collaboratives will assist trusts to accelerate the shift to digital outpatient transformation, in line with the Five Year Forward View and Carter Review. They will run in parallels, with one focusing on Virtual Consultations whilst the other focuses on Steamlining Outpatient Services.

Joining is free and open to all Trusts, though places are limited. If you have a digital outpatient project, email to see how they can support you and submit your application.

HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2018

HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2018

The national Patient Safety Collaborative programme (delivered by Health Innovation Network in the south London region) is sponsoring a prestigious award – HSJ Patient Safety Team of the Year 2018.

The deadline for entries to the HSJ Patient Safety Awards is 26 January and teams in south London are urged to enter, to share the learning about initiatives which have led to an improvement in the quality and safety of care.

There are 19 categories; for more information and tips on what makes a successful entry, download the Categories and Criteria brochure.

Patient Safety Collaborative Lead Cheryl Crocker (East Midlands AHSN) said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to recognise great work and share learning which can benefit colleagues throughout the country. Judges are looking for evidence of impact and also for projects which are scaleable and which have been or have potential for, further spread.”

South London Patient Safety Collaborative is part of a national programme delivered by the AHSN Network in partnership with NHS Improvement.

Last year, there were four HSJ Patient Safety Awards for projects involving Patient Safety Collaborative and AHSN teams – read about them here.

Entry is online at: For queries about the awards, contact the event organiser at:

To contact the south London Patient Safety Collaborative, email:

The awards are presented on the evening of the first day of the two-day HSJ Patient Safety Congress, at Manchester Central on 9 July.

Free Pulse Checks for Londoners during Global AF Awareness Week

Free Pulse Checks for Londoners during Global AF Awareness Week

More than 150,0000 Londoners have the most common type of irregular heartbeat, which is called Atrial Fibrillation or AF, and are at higher risk of a stroke. Not everyone with AF has symptoms and a simple pulse rhythm check could save their life.

During the AF Association Global AF Aware Week, from 20 – 26 November 2017, free pulse check events will be running across London. Londoners are being encouraged to spread the word about irregular heartbeats and urge friends and family – particularly those aged over 65 – to check their pulse and see a GP if it is irregular.

Pulse checks can be done manually (a British Heart Foundation video and guide shows how here) or through new technology, with irregular rhythms investigated further by healthcare professionals.

Please see details of free AF Awareness Week events across London below

Photo: a manual pulse check being performed by a member of South London Cares, here at the Health Innovation Network offices.

South London

Health Innovation Network and its partners will be offering free manual or mobile ECG pulse rhythm checks to test for AF:

Monday 20 November:
• Erith Health Centre, 50 Pier Rd, Erith, DA8 1RQ 9.30-2.30pm

Tuesday 21 November:
• Outside Costa Coffee, Croydon University Hospital, 530 London Road, CR7 7YE 12-2pm
• Central Hall, St Thomas’ Hospital, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7EH 9am-1pm
• Rushey Green Pharmacy, The primary Care Centre, Hawstead Road, SE6 4JH 9.30am-5pm

Wednesday 22 November:
• Outside Costa Coffee Shop, Croydon University Hospital, 530 London Road, CR7 7YE 9am-12pm
• Leegate Pharmacy, 334 Lee High Road, SE13 5PJ 9am-5.30pm

Thursday 23 November:
• Rushey Green Pharmacy, The primary Care Centre, Hawstead Road, SE6 4JH 9.30am-5pm
• Leegate Pharmacy, 334 Lee High Road, SE13 5PJ 9am-5.30pm

Friday 24 November:
• University Hospital Lewisham Main Entrance, Lewisham High Street, SE13 6LH 1-3pm

West London

Led by Imperial College Health Partners, staff and clinicians will be carrying out free pulse checks for patients and members of the public at the following times and locations. The checks will be carried out using a mobile ECG device which instantly analyses and interprets heart recordings:

Monday 20 November:

• Hounslow Tesco Superstore (Dukes Green Avenue, Feltham) 2pm-4pm

Wednesday 22 November:
• Hillingdon Hospital canteen 11am-1pm

Friday 24 November:

• Hammersmith & Fulham Parkview Health & Wellbeing Centre, Bloemfontein Rd, White City, London 10-12pm

North east and north central London

Led by UCLPartners, teams will be offering patients and members of the public a free pulse check using a mobile ECG device which instantly analyses and interprets heart recordings:

Monday 20 November – Friday 24 November
• Barts Heart Centre, West Smithfield, London, EC1A 7BE 9.30am-5pm

Thursday 23 November
• Karamsar Gurdwara (Temple) Ilford, 400 High Road, Ilford IG1 1TL 10am-3pm

Monday 20 November, Wednesday 22 November, Friday 24 November:
• Moorfields Eye Hospital, EC1V 2PD 9.30am-3pm

Thursday 23 November
• UCLPartners, 170 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7HA 1-2pm

Joining Q: Frequently Asked Questions

Health Innovation Network (HIN) has partnered with The Health Foundation to help grow the Q community across south London.

What is Q?

Q is a diverse and growing community of people with experience and understanding of improvement who are committed to working collaboratively to improve the quality of health and care across the UK. Over time, Q will grow to be a community of thousands, including people at the front line of care, managers, researchers, patients, commissioners and policymakers. Our aim is to connect a critical mass of people in order to expand and accelerate improvement in the quality of care.

Q will make it easier for people with expertise in improvement to share ideas, enhance their skills and make changes that benefit health and care. Q is also the name for the infrastructure we are creating to support individuals with their improvement work and make it possible for the community to connect, share and collaborate.

What is the difference between Q and other initiatives, networks or programmes?
Q is intended to complement and underpin other initiatives, networks and programmes, not compete with them. Q supports people to deliver their existing improvement work rather than being an additional project. Q is aimed at individuals and will provide a long-term infrastructure to support them throughout their career, regardless of where they are employed. Q is not a taught development programme, but a network of support for those already knowledgeable in and undertaking improvement work.

Q supports other initiatives and programmes by:

  • making it easier to understand what improvement work is being done, by whom, and where across the UK
  • providing resources and platforms to connect and support across existing networks, working with and through others wherever appropriate
  • making it easier to collaborate on areas of shared interest
  • contributing to influencing the policy, organisational and cultural context to be more supportive of improvement.

Where did Q come from? Is patient safety part of Q?
Q began as an initiative to recruit ‘5,000 Safety Fellows’ following a recommendation of the widely respected 2013 Berwick report A promise to learn, a commitment to act.

Recognising those with improvement expertise was part of the report’s recommendations about how best to improve safety in the wake of failings of care at Mid Staffordshire Hospitals NHS Trust. The report made the case for a system devoted to continual learning and improvement.

In 2014 NHS England approached the Health Foundation to lead the design and delivery of the initiative. The Health Foundation’s UK-wide remit and funding means Q brings together those committed to health and care quality across all four countries in the UK.

The decision was also made to expand beyond patient safety to cover all domains of quality in line with the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) definition: safe, effective, patient centred, timely, efficient and equitable. During the design phase of Q, we also formally extended Q beyond the NHS to all public, third-sector, community and private organisations and individuals with a role to play in supporting health as well as caring for people when they are ill.

In April 2016, sponsorship transferred over to (the then newly established) NHS Improvement.

Who funds Q?
Q is co-funded by the Health Foundation and NHS Improvement. Previously Q was co-funded by NHS England. On 1 April 2016, the Patient Safety team transferred to NHS Improvement, along with co-funding commitments to Q.

Are there other sponsors?
In line with the Health Foundation’s UK-wide remit, Q has benefited from advice and support from leaders and founding members in all four countries since its inception in 2014.

Early conversations are underway with Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Department of Health Northern Ireland and NHS Wales with the intention of them becoming ‘system-level partners’. By becoming formal partners alongside the Health Foundation and NHS Improvement, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will reinforce their support for improvement and for sharing across organisational and professional boundaries. It will make it easier to maximise synergy between Q and other initiatives within each country. The aim is to formalise partnership arrangements in spring 2017.

Who designed Q?
To ensure the design of Q meets the needs of those of the community, in 2015 we collaboratively designed the initiative together with 231 founding cohort members.
In addition, throughout the design process we have involved eminent leaders of improvement and wider stakeholders. To date, we have engaged more than 500 people in the design of Q.
More about this process can be found in Building Q – learning from designing a large-scale improvement community.
Q will continue to evolve, being shaped and grown by members of the community and partners.

What is the Q Improvement Lab?
The Q Improvement Lab’s mission is to explore ways to build a more sustainable health and care system in the UK for now and the future. In a stressed and pressured sector, the Lab will provide time, space and opportunity to tackle complex problems.
Emerging from Q, the Lab will bring people together to explore, develop, test and spread ideas that can significantly improve health and care for people in the UK. The Lab will provide space – physical space, virtual space and headspace – for people to work together on high priority challenges that many stakeholders want to solve. A small team will support the process and invest time in curating and sharing the findings, as well as seeking to influence at a wider system level, building capacity for change across the sector. Through our planning and research phase for the Lab it became clear that having a dedicated, physical space for the Lab is crucial. As part of the pilot Lab, we have dedicated space at King’s Cross in London.

After the community voted, the first theme the Lab will explore is empowering people to manage their own health and care needs. They will be exploring the following topic -‘What would it take for peer support to be available to everyone who wants it to help manage their long-term health and well-being needs?’

Over the coming months we will identify a particular topic within this theme to explore over a nine-month period, starting in spring 2017.
We envisage that over the next few years we will establish a small number of Labs across the UK where members of the Q community come together, facilitated by a small team with specialist skills, to make progress on complex challenges facing the health and care system.
For more information, please visit

What is the difference between Q and Generation Q?
Generation Q is the Health Foundation’s fully funded 18-month taught leadership and quality improvement programme. It provides senior leaders working in and with the health service (including charity organisations and policymakers) with a postgraduate certificate in Leadership (Quality Improvement) from Ashridge Business School (with the option of completing an MSc).
Q is not a taught programme, nor does it come with funded time. It is a long-term community of those with improvement expertise. There are fellows from Generation Q who have also joined Q – you can be both a Q member and a Generation Q fellow.

Being a member of Q

What are the benefits of joining the community?
People who join Q will join a diverse community of other improvers – a ‘home’ to turn to for inspiration and support. Q provides ways for members to learn, share and get advice from a wider network of peers, offering flexible development in a way that taught courses aren’t easily able to provide.
Members are added to Q’s online directory, hosted and promoted by the Health Foundation. We will offer access to online learning resources in exchange for your commitment to share what you learn.
There will be opportunities for sharing ideas, enhancing skills and collaborating on improvement projects, based on what the founding members identified as most useful. This will include Do-It-Yourself online resources, networking events nationally and locally, masterclasses and exchange activities (including site visits). Some of these are designed and organised through the central team, while others are managed through regional improvement organisations or self-organised by members.
Q is still relatively new, with some of the activities and opportunities still being designed as the community grows from hundreds to thousands. We are piloting activities together with members to ensure they genuinely add value. Individual activities and the portfolio as a whole will continue to evolve in line with feedback from the community.

What is expected of people who join Q?

The success of Q is largely dependent on the community. There is no minimum time commitment, but generally speaking the more you’re able to contribute, the greater the benefit. Some members will take a more active role in the community, while others less so and we expect individual involvement will vary over time.
We worked in collaboration with the community to develop a ‘compact’ that describes the expectations of those in the community and encourages a creative and safe environment for learning and improvement. The compact can be found on the Q website.

How long will I have Q membership?
People join Q as an individual, not a team or organisation. This means members remain part of the community when they change role, circumstance or organisation. Members of the community can share and collaborate with other members throughout their improvement career, even if they move abroad.

How much does it cost to join Q?
There is no membership fee to join the Q community. Travel and expenses are not covered by Q.
There will be times when we will cover travel and out-of-pocket expenses in relation to Q activities for those who are not in paid employment. This will need to be pre-approved and in line with the Health Foundation expenses policy.

What time commitment is required?
There is no minimum time commitment for members of Q. It has been designed to help support busy people with their current improvement work and ongoing development and to promote their visibility as a leader of improvement. Q should support members to tackle the challenges they are working on, rather than feel like an extra project.

Joining Q

Who is currently in Q?
We have 799 members in the community at the moment with numbers expected to reach the thousands during 2017. This number includes the 231 who helped to co-design Q, along with 216 who joined as part of a targeted pilot to test how we will grow the community in 2016.

352 members have joined as part of a phased approach to growing the community which is being rolled out across the UK. They joined from the North East and North Cumbria, West of England and South West.

We have recently closed the application window in the following areas – Scotland, Yorkshire and Humber, UCLP, North West Coast and the West Midlands and look forward to welcoming new members from these areas in June 2017.

We have partnered with a number of organisations that are helping us to grow the community. These are Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Public Health Wales, Health and Social Care Northern Ireland and the Academic Health Science Network in England. Our partners are helping to promote Q, and will also be delivering activities and opportunities for members at a local level.

When will opportunities to apply open up?
There will be phased opportunities to join Q during 2017. Anyone who feels they meet the criteria and is based in the area can apply and there will be no cap on numbers.

During May-June 2017, applications were open in the following locations:

  • Wales (through NHS Wales and 1000 Lives Improvement)
  • Wessex (through Wessex AHSN)
  • Greater Manchester (through Greater Manchester AHSN)
  • East of England (through Eastern AHSN)
  • Kent, Surrey and Sussex (through Kent, Surrey and Sussex AHSN)

In August we will be opening applications in Northern Ireland, East Midlands, Oxford, and the Imperial College Partners and Health Innovation Network AHSN areas in London.

We anticipate opening up opportunities more widely at the end of 2017/early 2018.

What is involved in applying to join Q?
To join the community you will need to complete an application via an online portal – AIMS. As part of the process, you will be asked to reflect on your knowledge and experience of improvement and how you can benefit and contribute to the community. The application process should take one to two hours and you can pause and return to the process at any time.

Why are there selection criteria?
We worked together with the founding cohort and others to develop selection criteria for joining Q. The decision to have selection criteria was made after much debate. It is there to ensure those who join share an understanding of improvement and are able to contribute equally and as trusted advisers.

We are looking for people who have experience, knowledge and commitment to the collaborative improvement of health and care. We hope to attract people with many different sorts of experience and people whose knowledge has been gained in a number of ways (taught courses or on-the-job learning). Those applying should be able to articulate and reflect on the approaches used personally and by others involved in improving quality. They should also have experience of playing a role in efforts to improve quality across team boundaries.

Who assesses applications?
Applications will be assessed by a small panel of people who understand improvement led by our partner organisations and supported by the team at the Health Foundation and NHS Improvement. The partner organisations will assess applications from their area of the UK. For example, if someone based in the West Midlands submits an application then our partner organisation West Midlands AHSN will be lead assessing it, together with the core project team.

Further information

For more information about Q process, click on the button below to download The Health Foundation’s ‘Decision Tree’.


We're here to help

If you have any questions or would like more information on Q community, please contact us.

Get in touch

South London Small Grants Winner 2016: Dr Rachel Hallett

South London Small Grant Winner 2016: Dr Rachel Hallett

This blog series have been written by the winners of last year’s South London Small Grants (Innovation & Diffusion Awards).

South London Small Grants Logo

The first blog is by Dr Rachel Hallett, who is using the grant to investigate how leisure centre managers decide whether to deliver exercise programmes for people with chronic health conditions.

Where I got the idea for the project:

I joined Kingston and St.George’s Joint Faculty in early 2016, as a researcher working with Professor Mike Hurley, the physiotherapist behind ESCAPE-Pain. Developed in an NHS context with physiotherapists, it can be delivered by fitness instructors in a leisure centre. There are, however, other factors in play: the leisure sector is changing, as is the NHS, with varying remits and budgetary challenges. If research is going to make a difference, researchers need to understand the wider context of delivering health interventions in the community and ensure their schemes are practical to deliver as well as effective. Mike was working hard to spread the scheme so that more people who needed it could access it.

This project arose from a need to understand better how the leisure sector works, what the priorities and concerns are within it, and how schemes like ESCAPE-Pain can be beneficial for providers as well as users.

Stretching, Image from Pixabay

How I Found out about the Small Grants:

Information about the Small Grants scheme was circulated by our Research Development Manager. For a small, short-term project with somewhat unpredictable outcomes, it was ideal.

Progress of the project so far:

The project has three stages, and we’re currently at the end of Stage Two, ready to start Stage Three.

1. Initial scoping interviews with those involved in community leisure provision to generate a broader understanding of key issues
2. Circulation of a survey to managers working in community leisure provision, informed by the understanding gained in the interviews in Stage One
3. Follow-up interviews with some of the survey participants to explore their answers and the issues in more depth.

What I would do differently next time:

The project has not been without challenges: these have mainly been about participant numbers. Recruitment – as with many research projects – has been difficult. Those who have participated have been generous with the information they’ve shared, so although participation is lower than we’d hoped, there is no shortage of information that will be useful for researchers to take forward. With hindsight, the initial focus on leisure centre managers should have been broader, to recognise the influencers in organisations such as social enterprises to whom local authorities have outsourced provision. Fortunately, some were included in Stage 1, as their details were passed on during the recruitment process. This meant the survey could be better targeted, and made suitable for people in a range of different roles.

Intented impacts of the project:

The impact is likely to arise after the project is complete and the findings are circulated. We already know from the survey data that leisure centre managers are interested in research and collaborations, whether or not they have already been involved. By working together, there is plenty of scope for long-term impact.

Partnership for change: First impressions in Freetown

Partnership for change: First impressions in Freetown

By Laura Spratling, Programme Director for Diabetes and Stroke Prevention. Laura is currently working in Freetown, where she’s using her skills as a hospital management volunteer with the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership (KSLP). Read about her experiences in her new blog.

Image by Simon Boots

I’d always wanted to volunteer in a developing country, motivated like many by an interest in applying my skills to help a place in great need. I was attracted to the strong partnership ethos of King’s Sierra Leone Partnership (KSLP) and delighted to have the chance to come and work with Connaught Hospital colleagues.

I joined the NHS as a graduate general management trainee in 2009, after which I worked in various operational and strategic roles including most recently as Programme Director for Diabetes and Stroke Prevention at Health Innovation Network (HIN), the South London Academic Health Science Network. I am grateful to my managers at HIN for kindly allowing me a six month career break to come to KSLP in Freetown.

During my first month at Connaught I was struck by how hospital life is on the one hand of course so totally different, and yet on the other hand many of the issues are similar to the ones that NHS managers devote their careers to solving.

Probably the most striking difference is the spectrum of common diseases. Infectious diseases (such as TB, malaria, HIV, measles, meningitis, pneumonia and others) are very prevalent. Spending time observing in an outpatient clinic during my second week here I was also taken aback by the severity of advanced disease that Connaught staff are treating. In my years in UK hospitals I have never seen so many patients so poorly as I have seen here in just a few weeks.

But while there is what sometimes feels like an overwhelming amount of suffering, there is also a good deal of hope. Patients, relatives and staff are incredibly warm and friendly, greeting strangers they pass in the corridor and one person who I hadn’t met before thanked me profusely for my work! I have met some incredibly strong and resilient people here who have survived some terrible times and are committed to working towards a better healthcare system. The work they do every day is truly impressive and humbling, particularly when you remember that they have far fewer resources of all types than we do in the NHS.

The issues that Connaught has in common with the NHS that I’ve discovered so far are as follows (I’m sure there are more!):

  1. Issues around flow of patients through the hospital – together with Connaught doctors and nurses we’ve started some process mapping to better understand the problems before co-designing solutions
  2. Rotas and handover processes
  3. Ways to embed effective multi-disciplinary working
  4. Estates and maintenance issues
  5. Effective management of outpatient services and ensuring patients do not become lost to follow up
  6. Health records management
  7. Robust systems for audit and quality improvement

And it’s the last two issues where I am focussing my energies for now.

There’s a great deal of enthusiasm in the hospital for improving the health records system, both to improve patient safety and care quality as well as enabling staff to undertake meaningful clinical audits and quality improvement projects. The records office staff in particular are fantastic and we have been working together on the first stages of our improvement plan.

It’s also a fascinating process working with colleagues to start up a rolling programme of quality improvement projects. We’ve established a committee where projects can be proposed, registered and reported on when completed. Our first two projects are about implementing the new international guidelines for the treatment of malaria and improving antibiotic prescribing. We’re going to be running some multi-disciplinary training sessions soon on quality improvement tools and methods. I am learning a lot from colleagues here showing me what is likely to be effective and what is not, and why.

My third project is an evaluation of a major educational programme working with the medical, nursing and pharmacy schools at the College of Medical and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS). I’m developing some new skills in designing qualitative evaluations and it will be interesting to hear the views of staff and students in the focus groups and interviews early next year.

I’ve always thought that the role of an effective healthcare manager is to provide the best possible environment and conditions for clinicians and patients, so that the best possible patient outcomes are achieved. This means making sure that systems work and that staff have the right skills, equipment and support to meet patients’ needs. As one of my first managers in the NHS memorably put it, “you have to be the glue” that brings the various parts of the system together. These principles are exactly the same here. I’m enjoying learning about how the Connaught management team is approaching this task and trying to make the best contribution I can.

Volunteering overseas is a “less trodden path” for healthcare managers than it is for clinicians, but I would encourage anyone who has an interest to pursue it and get in touch via if you would like to know more. Whilst there are some tough times, it’s an incredible and very worthwhile experience.

Laura’s blog was first published on the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership (KSLP) website here.

If you would like to learn more about the opportunities to volunteer with KSLP in Freetown, you can find out more, including how to apply, here.

KSLP is a partnership between King’s Health Partners – itself a partnership between King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts – and three key Sierra Leonean institutions; Connaught Hospital, The College of Medical and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS), and The Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

More blogs…