You will hopefully have seen the recent blog post by Matthew Fogarty about the new National Patient Safety Strategy which was released by NHS Improvement last month. What I find brilliant about the strategy is that it feels like a document that the Q community can really get behind and support. Why? Let me outline how Q members were involved in its development, and what that says about the reach that Q community members are having.
When I joined Q nearly 18 months ago I faced two questions from people. The first question was, of course, the normal reaction that I still sometimes come across when proudly wearing my Q community pin badge of “What does that Q stand for?” followed by “What do you hope to achieve?”. My answer to the first question is that Q stands for Quality and how we can together improve the NHS through Quality Improvement, but the second question was much harder to answer until you look at documents like the National Patient Safety Strategy.
We now have the opportunity to influence the next stages of the process and actively take part in the development of the new roles that the National Patient Safety Strategy has set out.
A community of improvement experts
The National Patient Safety Strategy clearly sets out what is expected of organisations regarding outcomes for safety, without laying out how you have to get there. It’s broken down into sections that were written by experts in their field. Now here is the amazing statistic showing the effectiveness of the Q community and the Health Foundation: over 60% of the experts involved are Q community members and/or Generation Q fellows.
On a personal note, along with five other patient leaders I had the privilege of drafting and finalising the section on patient safety partners, a new and exciting role for members of the public and patients to be involved in patient safety at every level of every organisation (including at high level strategic meetings).
What’s even more interesting is that when patients were asked to input into the process, the project team for Patients are equal in Quality Improvement – the Q Exchange project that Q members gave funding to in 2018 – was approached and 25% of the workshop members came from this project.
How Q members can take on the new Patient Safety roles
The Q community really does have a wide reach and we are together affecting national policy in both the drafting of new approaches but, more importantly, as Matthew Fogarty said, we now have the opportunity to influence the next stages of the process and actively take part in the development of the new roles that the National Patient Safety Strategy has set out.
Q community members from all staff groups are best placed to take on the roles of the ‘Patient Safety Specialist’ and Q members who are patient leaders are well placed to influence and become ‘Patient Safety Partners’. As the NHS develops the new minimum standards and training requirements for these roles I’d encourage all Q members to influence the outcomes of this strategy.
So next time some asks you “What’s that Q about” you can tell them that Q is a community of influencers, people who get things done, people who are making a difference to all. Q members are about Quality and Safety and together we make the NHS a better place to be for everyone, our patients, our staff and our communities.