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The health service is awash with many great ideas, but how do you know if what you’re doing has already been done elsewhere?  And how do you find resources to make things happen, especially if you want to do something for the benefit of multiple organisations or the system as a whole, rather than just about delivering must do targets for your organisation.

Q Exchange is part of the answer.

Those of you who took part in 2018 know this process has really galvanised the attention and imagination of the Q community through its open collaborative spirit, with the edge of competition to stretch all our ideas to be as good as they can be.

There’s the opportunity to involve even more of the community through online voting

After listening to your feedback, Q Exchange will be even bigger and better in 2019. Thanks to generous contributions from NHS Improvement and the Health Foundation, there is more funding available this year (£600,000). And there’s the opportunity to involve even more of the community through online voting as Zoe outlined in her blog earlier this year.

This year we will be calling out for ideas on two separate themes. We will be looking to fund up to 10 awards of up to £30k in each funding pot. By setting themes we hope to take further the potential of Q to help surface ideas and establish connections between people with similar ambitions.

So, what are the themes?

Understanding alternatives to traditional models of outpatients.

There can’t be many provider organisations for which changing the model of outpatients isn’t high on the priority list. And rightly so – we know that we’re not doing right by those who use services when we default to bringing them back again and again and when people need to wait to get an appointment and then wait more once they’re there. Sarah Reed explores this further in her blog as she asks the Q community to help share insights on how to improve the quality and value of outpatient care.

There are some great examples of innovative practice out there and policy and clinical commitment across the UK, but generally the model of outpatients has changed little over the past 40 years.

Building improvement capability across boundaries

Our second theme is a more flexible call for bids that involve building improvement capability in a way that spans at least one of the many boundaries that so often limit our potential as a system.

These could, for example, be projects that span primary and secondary care, clinicians, managers, researchers and policy makers, NHS and social care, the public and other sectors, service users and care givers. Or the boundaries might be disciplinary, looking at ways to build capability by looking across innovation and improvement or technology design, engineering and needlework (well OK, perhaps that’s a stretch too far…).

Investment in QI training has historically been weighted overly to clinicians in the hospital sector, so this might be a great opportunity for Q to lead the way in sharing skills more widely. In the process we expect everyone will learn about the different skills and perspectives that have evolved in different settings.

Get your thinking caps on…

We’ll share more information here about the process over coming weeks and months…

It’s not too early to start thinking and talking to each other about potential ideas – both things at the innovation stage and things that are working well and ready to spread.

Q Exchange will open for applications in June, but it’s not too early to start thinking and talking to each other about potential ideas – both things at the innovation stage and things that are working well and ready to spread.

We’re hoping Q Exchange can provide opportunities for people to learn from each other and get the support to really understand what’s needed and likely to work.

We expect those ideas that do well will show they reflect a real need, involve Q members as the idea develops and hold potential to generate insights that will be useful to others in Q.  Why not take a look at the shortlisted teams from 2018 for inspiration.

You can also get involved by helping project teams to shape and refine their ideas through their project pages.

Q Exchange is designed to benefit all those involved, so stay linked in even if you’re not planning to bid. You can also get involved by helping project teams to shape and refine their ideas through their project pages. Or you might consider looking for projects that could benefit organisations, people and causes you care about and promoting them within your networks.

As a first step in helping Q Exchange thrive, you could use this as the nudge that your colleagues need to get around to joining Q – while anyone can comment and share, you need to be in Q to lead a bid and to vote.

So get your thinking caps on – Q Exchange is all about bringing lots of brains together!


  1. Guest

    Sarah Trute 2 years, 7 months ago

    Great to look. Look forward to contributing and supporting peers.

  2. Patient care in the community: no more silo working

    Providing holistic care to patients living in their own homes or in care homes can be a challenge due to the large number of different professionals and organisations involved.  To provide joined-up, seamless care at the right time and in the right place requires effective communication across the health and social care system.  Professionals need access to the infrastructure and processes that allow joint care planning, intra-agency care-coordination and access to specialist advice when required. This includes primary care, secondary care, social services, community services (including therapies, intermediate care, rapid response, palliative) and mental health services.

    It is too easy to revert to ‘silo working’ whereby different aspects of a persons’ health and wellbeing are considered in isolation. This needs to change if we are to meet the on-going challenge of caring for an increasingly ageing population with ever more complex health and social care needs.

    By setting up fortnightly (at least) MDTs in each of our 5 Localities in Gateshead we aim to:

    Allow priorities, actions and interventions to be identified holistically so no part of a persons’ health and wellbeing is considered in isolation.
    Give patients access to a wide range of Health and Social Care support e.g. therapy intervention, long term social care, specialist palliative care, rapid response social care, social prescribing etc.
    Support cross-organisational professional learning and development across disciplines and clinical teams
    Improve coordination of care, thus reducing potential inefficiencies within the current system e.g. duplication and handoffs

  3. Hi Deborah

    Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you have an idea that would make a great submission for Q Exchange. Have you added your added your idea yet? To be in with a chance to get up to £30,000 of funding for your project you need to add your idea to the Q website by 12.00 on Monday 1 July.  You can find out more about how it works and how to add your idea on the Q Exchange pages

    If you have any questions or need any help please contact the Q team

    Best wishes


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