Training Case Studies - Measurements for Improvement Training

Measurement for Improvement – Tom Connor, Risk Officer


“Attending the Understanding and Reducing Variation and SPC in Healthcare courses has enabled Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust to become self-sufficient in producing materials to aid improvement going forward.”

Tom Connor is a Risk Officer within the Safety Risk and Resilience Management team at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust. Tom’s role includes maintenance and updating of the organisation’s reporting system, which consists of data accuracy, cleansing and production of monthly reporting from the data stored within that system. Tom now supports incident reduction across the trust after having completed the Understanding Reducing Variation in Healthcare and SPC course which teaches chart production, including ‘days between’ charts.

Tom’s key projects are:

  • Risk and Safety management reduction for patients across the BDCT trust
  • Incident Reduction across the trust.

Although Tom understood the mechanics and principles of SPC charts, having now attended both the Understanding and Reducing Variation and SPC in Healthcare sessions, Tom feels that he has gained a much better understanding of why SPCs are the right type of chart to use. He also understands the benefits of choosing SPC; one of these is being able to see outlier incidents to drive further investigation.

The ‘understanding variation’ event Tom attended back in 2016 was really useful in understanding the difference between normal and special occurrence variation. Tom found the exercises in this event really useful when explaining this to others within his trust. SPC training helped Tom to understand what the calculations were doing and why, which has given him more confidence when producing the charts for his organisation. Tom also has more confidence when looking at step changes, and why it’s important to look at the outlier points to understand if action needs to be taken, or if not, understanding that it was a rare incident.

Tom’s key learning points from the workshops are:

  • How to build an SPC chart from scratch
  • What all the control limits are doing and why we have them – to look at normal variation
  • What outliers are – and when to look into these further by understanding our own system
  • Why we look at normal and special cause variation when working on improvement projects.

Attending both courses has enabled Tom’s organisation to become self-sufficient in producing materials to aid improvement going forward. It has enabled Tom to explain SPC charts, both to other members of the team, and also to those on the frontline driving improvement. Tom has used exercises from the training itself to help in informal and formal training sessions within his trust for anyone involved in the Improvement Work stream. Tom feels that it’s helped to strengthen a uniform approach across the trust in incident reduction.

Tom attended the Improvement Academy SPC in Healthcare course, funded through the Yorkshire and Humber AHSN on 24th October 2018.