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To celebrate the Q community reaching 4,000 members, we asked some of our newest members to share their journeys through the world of quality improvement, and what they’re hoping to achieve through Q this year.

Parya Rostami - image

Dr Paryaneh Rostami

Senior Quality Improvement Manager, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

I am a Senior Quality Improvement (QI) Manager with a pharmacy background. I have a specialist interest in improving patient safety and I am the nominated Patient Safety Specialist for my Trust. My interest in patient safety began early within my clinical career as a Pharmacist, as I realised that medication-related incidents account for a large proportion of preventable harm to patients. This led to my PhD, which evaluated the use of a nationally used QI tool that aided medication safety measurement for improvement. After this, I branched out into wider patient safety, helping to implement and evaluate various projects such as Enhanced Recovery After Surgery+ and Salford’s Integrated Care System.

I joined the Q community in September 2020, and I already feel that I have gained so much

As well as working within QI, I have experience working within primary and secondary healthcare, and academia; all of which have helped me form a deep understanding of healthcare roles and systems. However, my passion lies within improving these systems and supporting colleagues to normalise improvements to them. Therefore, I decided to work in QI full-time.

I joined the Q community in September 2020, and I already feel that I have gained so much. For example, by attending the Q community event 2020, I gained a deeper understanding of the challenges that organisations have faced during the coronavirus pandemic and, more importantly, examples of how they have overcome these challenges.

As my Trust’s Patient Safety Specialist, I am particularly interested in using Safety II approaches (why things go right) and I know that many Q members have extensive experience in this area. I look forward to learning how we can better move towards Safety II approaches, for example, Learning From Excellence and GREATix.

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Sarah O’Brien

Research and Policy Officer, Autistica

I’m fortunate to have spent all of my working career focusing on improvement and working with people to create the change they want to see. Before my current role at Autistica, I built skills in widening participation and access to Higher Education, then moved into Participation and Policy at Ambitious about Autism. In my previous role we lasered in on improvement to services like healthcare, leisure, education, and employment, being led by the ideas of the autistic young people the charity supports. Having such a broad field and portfolio of work enables greater learning and has given me transferable skills to support projects in other areas.

Over the duration of the project we’ve seen how improvement can happen in small ways and be accelerated by both agreement and challenging of views

A major project in this area has been working with autistic young people to improve services for autistic people in Whittington Health NHS Trust, funded by the Health Foundation. This project has co-created change with clinicians, autistic young people and the local community to create solutions that work. Over the duration of the project we’ve seen how improvement can happen in small ways and be accelerated by both agreement and challenging of views.

This year I hope to learn from the Q community about different types of improvement and be challenged to make greater strides in the work that I do. I hope that there is a focus on co-production and health inequalities, two things that are essential focuses in the restoration and recovery of healthcare in the time of pandemic.

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David McNally

Head of Experience of Care, NHS England and Improvement

I’m new to Q but like many people, have spent a lot of my working life doing ’improvement work’, although for most of the time I didn’t know that was what I was doing.

Much of my early career was spent working in ‘service development’ roles for local or national voluntary organisations, and then nearly a decade in Local Government Adult Social Care, mostly in older people’s services. I learnt a lot about the importance of being flexible and responsive to the needs of service user groups, and the value of collaboration, across the NHS, social care, and the voluntary sector, in both shaping and delivering improvements.

I look forward to meeting new colleagues who have fresh ideas about the ‘how’ of improvement and will challenge my thinking

I have worked in the NHS since 2004, and for the last 8 years as Head of Experience of Care nationally with NHS England (and now) Improvement. Working nationally unsurprisingly brings a particular mix of opportunities and challenges: finding the good stuff; being able to test and promote ways of doing things; how we scale and spread what we know works. A key thing I’ve learned in this role is that to be effective, whether at national, system or local level, we have to break down the barriers between our work on improving experience, clinical transformation and quality improvement.

The most important lesson I’ve learned so far about improvement is that it won’t work if it isn’t done in genuine partnership with people, communities and staff. For now at least I think co-production is a good word to describe this aspiration but it has to mean: sharing what the questions are, not just what the answers might be; creating spaces to hear what matters to people; and sharing power and decision-making. Working consistently with people with lived experience changes the conversation; it changes what we do and how we do it.

I’m hoping that through being a Q member in 2021, I will find new allies to connect and collaborate with on the many challenges this year may bring and beyond. I look forward to meeting new colleagues who have fresh ideas about the ‘how’ of improvement and will challenge my thinking.

What are you hoping to achieve through through your membership this year, Q community? Share your thoughts below.