Reflections on 2014 – Improvement by numbers


Our monthly blog spot usually features a reflection from a Yorkshire and Humber Improvement Fellow. This month’s blog is a look back on 2014 by Beverley Slater, Director of the Improvement Academy.

Earlier this month Gill, a member of the Service Improvement Team at Calderdale and Huddersfield, travelled to Scarborough Hospital to spend a day supporting staff preparing to implement Scarborough’s new system for improving the flow of patients through the hospital. What was remarkable was that Calderdale and Huddersfield Trust had been willing for Gill to contribute her experience to another NHS Trust in Yorkshire and Humber without the expectation of receiving anything in return.

Five months earlier, in June, a group of 25 clinicians and IT specialists from 12 different NHS acute provider Trusts in Yorkshire and Humber gathered together with academics from local universities for a roundtable discussion about the benefits, issues and challenges of implementing electronic early warning systems (eNEWS) for deteriorating patients.  Benefiting from academic contributions on the evidence, and also learning from several local Trusts with early experience of eNEWS, this roundtable event developed everyone’s knowledge, and allowed connections to be made that have supported Trusts to address some of the problems they face. 

Two great examples of how individuals and organisations in Yorkshire and Humber are breaking down organisational walls and learning to help each other to improve their collective performance. This is what the Academic Health Science Network, and the AHSN Improvement Academy is all about. And it is why we are optimistic about the future.

Looking back over 2014 we can see that we have come a long way. On 2 January a small core team – two programme managers, two project managers and an improvement analyst – joined our office manager and our executive team to take up their posts in an empty office populated with whiteboards. Since then it has been a whirlwind journey, including:

  • 44 NHS partner organisations visited at top team level.
  • 110 Improvement Fellows identified and regular network meetings established.
  • 15 masterclasses, workshops and roundtables – with more than 800 attendees in Leeds, York, Sheffield and Hull.
  • More than 30 partner organisations represented on our Quality Improvement Training Advisory Group.
  • Active safety improvement work with 35 frontline teams, 17 of which have established regular team safety huddles.
  • More than 100 consultants and junior doctors trained as gold-standard mortality case note reviewers.
  • More than 700 Safety Culture surveys completed by frontline staff.
  • 15 Wheelchair Services in Yorkshire and Humber facilitated to measure improvement and become recognised by NHS England as leading the way.
  • Communities of Improvement established in Urgent Care, Healthy Ageing, Patient Flow and Air Quality.
  • New website launched in September – and 900 new twitter followers.
  • 1500 new contacts added to our database.
  • £1.7m additional funding attracted through competitive grant applications for improvement work with NHS and academic partners.
  • Patient Safety Collaborative established for NHS England in October.
  • Visited by national figures: Mike Durkin (National Patient Safety Director, NHS England), Suzette Woodward (‘Sign up to safety’ campaign lead), Steve Fairman (Director of NHS IQ), Rory Shaw (Medical Director Healthcare UK).

We have a sense of pride in what we have achieved, and have been humbled by some of the people we have met. It’s been a good year. We know we face an equally demanding and hectic 2015 but despite the challenges, we can afford ourselves an air of optimism as we enter the New Year.

Happy Christmas everybody!