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Q is unique in many ways: it provides a cross-sector, cross-profession, pan UK infrastructure for learning and collaboration that’s attracted thousands of members in its first five years. And in a turbulent system, Q’s longevity makes it stand out and that much more valuable – individuals and organisations can invest their time in something they know will still be here in years to come.

We have ambitious plans for growing the community further

So it’s really exciting that we have been able to work with colleagues in the Health Foundation and Q’s partners across the UK to develop and agree a plan for a further 10 years funding and support for Q.  We have ambitious plans for growing the community further, boosting patient involvement in improvement through Q, expanding Q Labs and continuing Q Exchange and Q’s professional development offers, while making sure we create a sustainable infrastructure that gives members what they need.

Q’s partners are in the process of going through their formal decision making processes and of course any future funding and support will be accompanied by governance and sign off processes so we make sure the investment in Q is well used.  We’ll be sharing more about the plans over the months ahead, but let’s take this moment to celebrate getting to this point. It’s inspiring and energising to see organisations from across the UK and beyond working together, responding to what those doing improvement say they need, and taking a long term view. It’s not just me who feels that way; here’s what the Health Foundation and the leads in Q’s partners had to say:

It’s inspiring and energising to see organisations from across the UK and beyond working together

Will Warburton, Director of Improvement at the Health Foundation, chairs the cross-UK governance group that oversees Q: “Developing health and care systems capable of continuous learning and improvement is a critical endeavour – and a long game. This 10-year investment in Q from the Health Foundation and partners throughout the UK and Ireland provides an alternative energy source for change; one driven by the intrinsic motivation of people to improve health and care. Through connecting thousands of people skilled in improving care, Q enables learning, sharing and collaboration; it creates new relationships across professional, geographical and institutional boundaries that enhance the free flow of ideas and knowledge throughout our respective health and care systems.”

NHS England and NHS Improvement first came to the Health Foundation with the idea to partner on Q and have been a funder from the start, closely involved with developing the plans for the next phase. They will make a decision about future support for Q in the next few months. Hugh McCaughey, National Director of Improvement reflected: “The Q Initiative is an important part of the learning system we need to achieve the priorities in the Long Term Plan. I am keen that the long term funding partnership we have with the Health Foundation on Q continues.”

John Boulton, Director of NHS Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, Improvement Cymru says: “Q helps the health and care system in Wales develop improvement expertise and connect that expertise locally, regionally and nationally. Q provides conduits for spread and collaborative change. We look forward to deepening our partnerships over the months and years ahead.”

Ruth Glassborow, Director of Improvement at Healthcare Improvement Scotland shares: “We have been supporters of the concept of Q from the beginning as our experience in Scotland is that effective networks are an essential part of the infrastructures needed to enable spread of improvement work.  We are committed to playing our part in supporting the ongoing development of a vibrant community of improvers across the UK.”

Mark Roberts, Clinical Director of the Improvement Hub in Northern Ireland says: “We are pleased to confirm our ongoing support for the development of Q – working with Q members to grow an engaged, dynamic community, bringing together a critical mass of people with the skills and perspectives needed for effective change in our health and social care system.

Q can be at the forefront of enabling a more joined up and collaborative approach to learning and improvement

In 2020, Q will also be expanding across Ireland. Dr Philip Crowley, National Director of the Health Service Executive (HSE) National Quality Improvement Team says: “We are really impressed by the co-design and innovative approach to the development of Q. We are enthusiastic about the potential to deepen relationships and collaborations on QI initiatives and are keen to bring our national and local experience of supporting improvement to the Q Community.”

We know changing culture and practice takes time to shift in a system as large and complex as the health sector.  With long term backing from national organisations and frontline organisations alike, Q can be at the forefront of enabling a more joined up and collaborative approach to learning and improvement.

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