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At the Q community event on 18 and 19 November 2020, we explored the role that improvement can play in achieving an equitable, inclusive health and care system.

If, like many members who came to the event, you’re looking to gain inspiration, learn from others’ approaches and build connections for the future, a great place to start is the virtual marketplace session. Through short presentations, ten teams shared how they’re using their improvement expertise to increase equity.

Sessions touched on the opportunity and responsibility we have through our improvement work to prioritise and make progress on issues of inequity – recognising there is no quality without equity. Many improvement tools and approaches can be repurposed to achieve equity – particularly how to use data to understand issues and experiences and how to engage patients meaningfully.

One of my takeaways was that we need to look at the broader social context in which we are working – and see improvement work as a form of social justice. By applying a systems-lens we can identify who is getting worse care, change the narrative about what causes this inequity, and rally people to take urgent action. Both David Ansell and Josephine Ocloo shared powerful accounts of how they have been social activists in their careers, identifying lots of practical learning.

Our session exploring structural racism in the health and care system provided a closed space for members to reflect on their experiences and discuss how improvement can be anti-racist. This raised feelings of hope, determination, optimism and inadequacy. While this wasn’t recorded to invite greater honesty and openness, we’ll be sharing what we heard soon and encourage you to get in touch if you’d like to help us explore what more Q can do in this space.

Here you can browse the sessions from the event on this theme.

Watch the sessions

Being heard, not ‘seldom heard’ in health and social care research and service delivery

The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted stark disparities in mortality rates and excess deaths for a number of groups, including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, disabled people, those on lower incomes and living in the most deprived areas, care home residents, and those in the poorest health. Yet these groups are least likely to be involved in the design and implementation of research and service delivery.

This session makes the case for why it is important to take a much more collaborative approach based upon equality, diversity and inclusion in research and improvement, and presents some key examples of how this can be done in practice to reduce health inequalities.

International examples on improving equity

In Dominique Allwood’s interview with Dr. David Ansell she invites him to share his knowledge and expertise around how to address equity in health and health care. David offers insights and examples on important and topical equity issues including racism and inequity in healthcare, COVID-19 and anchor institutions. David also talks in detail about the role of improvement approaches and how improvement leaders can bring their skills and expertise to tackle bigger public health issues. David draws on his wealth of experience as Senior Vice President for Community Health Equity at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Enabling effective collaboration between patients, staff and communities

The way we work together with patients and service users in improvement can be patchy and good practice does not spread as far as we would like. In this session you hear from National Voices, the coalition of health and social care charities in England, about their co-design project exploring what more is needed for effective collaboration. Speakers share their learning about the following questions:

  • What mechanisms best invite, respect and value input in a meaningful way?
  • How can small and user-led groups, with limited resources but rich insights, be more included?

Marketplace: How to apply an equity-lens in your improvement

COVID-19 has shone a light on the severe social inequalities that exist in our health and care system. In this session, you hear from frontline teams who are using equity-based approaches to tackle inequalities and deliver improvements in practice. Shared as 10 short clips, these videos provide ideas and inspiration for your improvement work.

View the clips from the Marketplace session

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