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QI Training & Project Support for Trust Support Services

There are several 'hard to reach' staff groups that haven’t actively engaged/led in QI within the organisation. We would like to design a bespoke programme aimed at support staff from these key areas.

Read comments 30 Project updates 2
  • Winning idea
  • 2019

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to your chosen theme?

– We believe that all staff have great ideas

– Feedback from staff has shown that support services staff (including healthcare assistants, cleaning staff etc) see QI as being something for their managers, or more senior members of staff, not something for everyone.

– While there is already a lot of great work being carried out by this group, they have not engaged to the same extent as others in QI and we would like to ensure that they are supported and encouraged to

– This is further confirmed by the numbers of  staff from these areas that are accessing current offers of QI training

– We want to put together a bespoke programme aimed at these support services working with teams to carry out projects, showing them how vital they are in contributing to the safety, quality and patient experience within our organisation

– For our team these are the ‘harder to reach’ staff and we want to build up their capability in QI and show how they are part of the collective leadership in our organisation.

What does your project aim to achieve?

–  Train a range of staff that wouldn’t otherwise engage in QI training

– Deliver on a range of key QI projects led by these staff & delivered by these staff with coaching from our QI team

– This programme will be co-designed by our QI team with staff from these areas to ensure it meets their needs

– Engage those ‘hard to engage’ staff in our organisation and help them realise that they are a key and important part of our Trust’s QI journey

– Empower staff to understand that no matter what their role they have great ideas and these can be turned into great improvements

– We will measure the impact through: pre/mid/post training skills survey, thorough evaluation of the programme and through measuring the outcomes of individual projects.

– It is hoped that staff trained through this programme can then continue to be involved in QI and provide support for others in the organisation – it is hoped that over time we will also measure whether this happens & whether there are longer term benefits.

How will the project be delivered?

– This work will be delviered by engaging our QI team and  Patient Experience (our team responsible for cleaning, catering, portering etc) as well as other interested members of staff to design a programme tailored towards this group of staff

– Face to face teaching will be used for the teaching element with a mentor being provided to support the delivery of a project so new skills can be used in practice.

– Staff will attend in project teams

– A celebration event will then be held to showcase the work.

– Timings may be subject to change based on co-design but it is planned that this programme will run over 9 months with teaching on how to run a QI project and team working to deliver on this being the focus.

– Teaching will be provided by both internal and external partners.

What and how is your project going to share learning throughout?

– The learning from this project will help inform future training in our organisation and (hopefully) help others to do the same

– Any learning gained will be shared through a range of regional forums, including the Northern Irish body, HSCQI & through the Q community

– It is not only in QI that this group of staff are harder to engage.  We will share the learning from this work with throughout the organisation so any learning on what did, and didn’t, work for engagement is shared.

– This project will help us understand if this is the best approach for support services staff.

– We would also look for opportunities on a national and international level to share any learning as well as through other mediums such as social media & conferences to ensure all learning is spread and shared as far as possible.

– Within our organisation we already have structures in place to ensure that this can be shared with Senior managment as well as through the departments involved in the work.

How you can contribute

  • Ideas! How best have you engaged this group of staff?
  • We are planning on getting them to attend in teams - do you think this is best?
  • How do we pitch this to make it appeal to this staff group?

Plan timeline

2 Dec 2019 Begin engagement period with support services
2 Mar 2020 Begin to co-produce programme
4 May 2020 Open application process for teams
6 Jul 2020 Link with teams to refine project ideas
3 Aug 2020 Cohort 1 begins (for 9 months)
4 May 2021 Evaluation of cohort 1 & planning for future
5 Jul 2021 Implement communication strategy for sharing learning

Project updates

  • 27 May 2020

    Well, as I imagine is the case for most projects, coronavirus has had a big impact – both from the perspective of timescales but also around how we can deliver training.

    As a result our team are now refocusing and looking at how we can still move forward with the work but just do it a little differently. We are currently exploring how we can utilise technology to support and train people remotely and looking at adjusting our timescales and looking at the effect on our budget.

    If anyone has anything they want share around how their Trust are engaging staff in QI training moving forward we would love to chat!

    Lisa & Nicola

  • 11 Feb 2020

    So engagement with different teams & directorates is now underway so we can see what the needs of the service are & begin to get ideas together.  A lead for this work has now been identified – Lisa Cozzo is an Associate Improvement Advisor in the Trust.

    Through inital conversations we made a few changes to the budget – these meant providing a bit more support for the work but also adding in the cost of an OCN accreditation as part of it – we are hoping this will increase buy-in as this is an accreditation that is recognised beyond the Trust.  At the minute we are working through what level this will be and deciding whether it should be optional or compulsary as a portfolio would need to be developed by each participant.


  1. Congratulations on being shortlisted and on taking a different approach to engagement. I particularly like the idea of involving the Patient Experience team.

    I would be delighted to contribute and support your project

    Best wishes


  2. Hi Nicola, Brenda & Jocelyn

    I am  interested in your idea of  spreading improvement capacity & capability within the  front-line NHS and allied staff, who may not be the group receiving most of the QI training. They are often in a great position to help us generate improvement ideas. Several examples in my own organisation of where the cleaners or the receptionists have highly relevant change ideas, and feel empowered when given a 'voice' in their workplace. I watch with interest..

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Sue - yes, I agree -our Trust are very focused on the ideas of collective leadership and I'm really hoping that this could be an opportunity to really engage and support this cohort of staff to realise there ideas are as important as everyone elses and give them the support and recognition to make change happen.


  3. Well done. Having worked in primary care in SET for more than 20 years it is clear that there is a long way to go in spreading the value of QI to those outside hospital as well as the "hard to reach" groups inside. It would be great to include health centre staff and connunity AHPs in SET to really develop a QI culture across the locality

    1. Hi Louise - thank you so much for the feedback  - I've been finding the comments really helpful at making me think about different groups of staff oven beyond those that we had initally considered when putting the application together so thank you for the suggestions around primary care and health centres, will definitely take them on board.


  4. Guest

    Julie Smith 2 years, 9 months ago

    Fab idea. Watching with interest!

    1. Thanks Julie, hopefully if we get the funding we will be able to develop an engagement strategy & programme that will be replicable in different Trusts.

      Appreciate you taking the time to show support.


  5. Excellent project to take forward we really need the staff on the ground onboard with QI as they are the ones who have the practical ideas for improvements.

  6. Guest

    Elizabeth Bradbury 2 years, 9 months ago

    Sounds very interesting and demonstrates that one size doesn't fit all. I've found that sometimes talking about improving patient experience and providing QI training under the umbrella of EBD resonates with non clinical staff in support roles rather than just offering QI training. I heard a wonderful example of porters improving the care of decreased patients through a speedy response, a focus on a dignified move from ward to mortuary etc....all based on their ideas.  Also...segmenting their feedback from that of other QI trainees and monitoring the longer term impact on staff satisfaction, retention etc might provide helpful intel. Good luck!

    1. Thank Elizabeth - you’ve brought up some great points, definitely given me some food for thought & ideas around thorough evaluation!

      Thanks for taking the time to give us some feedback, it’s much appreciated!


  7. Hi Nicola, Brenda and Jocelyn

    I really look forward to seeing how this approach develops, there is a similar challenge within my own organisation in supporting the spread of culture of QI to all domains, staff groups and service users.  From experience this is such a real opportunity to tap into a whole new group to support innovation and real improvement.  Good luck, and would really like to keep sharing.


  8. Nicola

    we are hoping to do something similar to this for our Admin & IT staff in NIPEC so would value sharing in your learning



    1. Definitely Cathy - if we’re successful getting the funding I’m really keen for any learning to be shared as I know this is something that will hopefully benefit a lot of Trusts.


  9. Hi Nichola, what a terrific idea. I think this is an important focus for any organisation’s improvement capability building – building improvement will, creating improvement vision and building improvement capability with all staff (across possible internal boundaries)! I (and I am sure many others) would be very interested to learn from this work.

    1. Thanks Tresa! Appreciate all feedback & support! Nicola

  10. I think that this is a really important project I agree with earlier comments that thi sis more than QI training and practice but a potential learning opportunity for understanding why some staff groups are harder to reach and what good engagement looks and feels like for these groups, and crucially their leaders and structures.

    there is potential to learn from this and apply to partners in STP footprints - council or voluntary sector colleagues -as previously access to QI training and support has been minimal.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks Wendy, really appreciate all feedback and support.  Will definately be keen to see how we can share any learning far and wide!


  11. Guest

    Mandy Gormley 2 years, 11 months ago

    This is a great idea as support services staff often have practical ideas on improvements that others can miss.  They can be put off by clinical methodology and may feel more engaged with a bespoke programme.

    1. Thanks Mandy - hoping through engaging these teams in the design there will be learning which can be shared across the region.


  12. Great to see a specific focus on these 'harder to reach' groups.

    1. Thanks Gill!


  13. This is a crucial initiative to engage staff at the front line of health and social care to innovate services. Am sure your team will take a creative approach to making QI training accessible.

  14. Good to develop a culture where all staff are engaged in a culture of improvement.  I remember meeting an excellent phlebotomist about 3 years ago from your Trust who had shown ambition, drive and self determination and brought about positive change already.  I was very impressed.  Perhaps that culture already exists?

    What is the engagement like at senior clinician level and also across boundaries reaching to support your colleagues in primary care in your area perhaps could be a useful suggestion?

    Well done with your idea.


    1. Thanks Philip -  really appreciate the feedback.  Yes, there is definitely a culture of QI within our organisation - we are very lucky with that! This is an area that just hasn't engaged as much as others - though as you pointed out there already pockets with this group that are there which I'd love to build on.  Like the thought of how we can link in with primary care and utilise the links that are already there with senior clinicians.


      Thanks again,



  15. Guest

    Rachel Houghton 3 years ago

    Hi All,

    This is a fab idea and will have obvious benefits that I can see. I think part of the challenge for engaging these particular staff groups are mainly around the lack of structure that will support any delivery of innovation from them. In terms of QI training there is a lot of options that are already in existence. It might be worth focusing on how you support them to deliver QI and create mentoring/coaching support and a structure that will identify them as innovators and value their contribution. This is culture change rather than just understanding QI I think but something that needs to be tackled and I am pleased to see this question being raised.



    1. Thanks for the feedback Rachel -  yes, you raise valid comments. Part of the reason I hadn't submitted a budget to for this part was I was hoping to build upon the comments received to see how this would work best so your feedback around coaching and valuing contribution is very beneficial.



  16. Hi Nicola, Brenda and Jocelyn,

    its great to see your idea. I’m really interested in this area as there’s clearly a massive benefit to the culture of the organisation when all staff feel involved, included and empowered to make changes. At Northumbria Healthcare we have been trying to embrace this approach. One concrete example is where we have employed nutritional assistants to help in an improvement programme to help reduce mortality after hip fracture. The nutritional assistants have been brilliant at generating improvement ideas and capturing data. We have really valued their improvement expertise, support and leadership. We are currently writing this work up, but if a conversation would help about our wider learning do let me know, as I’d be happy to put you in touch.

    warm wishes and good luck

    Anna 😊

    1. Thanks Anna - yes, as we are building the application it would be great to find out more about your approach!



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