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Originally posted on NHS England’s blog.

We celebrated the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer’s annual conference earlier this month – and ‘celebrated’ is no misnomer.

It was a hugely stimulating day – it always is – with excellent speakers who roused the audience with tales of success and motivated the AHP community to continued action.

Quality Improvement was a recurring theme, so much so that I want to urge you to join with us in making it a way of life.

From the moment we enter the AHP professions, our work demands that we are curious, working with our patients to solve problems, test changes and adjust care plans accordingly.

We talked of transformation, doing things differently, making sure we organise our talents and resources for maximum impact for patients and populations. We all agreed there was a need to embed an improvement culture – one of collective leadership where staff are encouraged to be forever curious, to test new ideas for improving care, to be open and transparent and learn from what works and what doesn’t, a just culture where kindness and compassion prevail.

My recent work in improvement has looked at patient flow, delivering quality orthotics services and embedding personalised care. I’m passionate about improving safety, patient experience and outcomes, so all these messages were a joy to hear.

Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of the Health Foundation, was one of our speakers. She led the development of the Q community and hosts it. I was privileged to help co-design Q, and over three years the community has gained 3,250 members and continues to grow each week.

Jennifer promoted the value of Q to the audience, and it was thrilling to see so many AHPs raise their hands when she asked who was already benefitting from being part of Q. It’s impossible to overstate this network’s power to connect like-minded people, promoting the potential of embedding improvement cultures across health and social care. It’s a generous community – sharing skills and knowledge with an enthusiasm and ambition for us all to grow together.

It’s impossible to overstate this network’s power to connect like-minded people, promoting the potential of embedding improvement cultures across health and social care.

The conference was a great opportunity to raise awareness of a new special interest group within the Q community for Allied Health Professions in Quality Improvement. This is open to everyone, not just members of Q. It’s one of the quickest growing SIGs within Q – with 65 members in its first few weeks – and it’s still growing.

From the moment we enter the AHP professions, our work demands that we are curious, working with our patients to solve problems, test changes and adjust care plans accordingly. So many of the habits described in one of my favourite publications, The Habits of an Improver, are second nature to the AHP community. We must recognise these are the very talents that will enable our leadership to improve.

My call to action is to get involved: join the Twitter conversation on #AHPQI, become an improver and develop your improvement habits.

Trusts are all at different stages of systematically embedding QI into their organisational DNA; that’s such a great opportunity to find out what’s happening in your trust and join in. If you’ve got skills to share – join Q. If you want to connect with the AHP improvement community join the Q SIG for AHPs.

I urge you just to start somewhere: you never know what you’ll be able to achieve. If you’re like me, the joy you’ll experience from adopting those habits will be a gift to yourself.

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