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We are delighted to announce that we have awarded funding to nine projects through the Supporting local learning funding programme.

This programme aims to encourage a way of working that celebrates innovation and the exchange and spread of insights through strengthening the design of structured learning in the health and care sector.

Earlier this year, we invited applications from Academic Health Science Networks who are working to provide opportunities for Q members locally, through infrastructure and activities that provide ongoing connecting and learning across boundaries in each area.

The standard of applications was exceptionally high and after careful consideration with a group of Q members and funders from NHS England and Improvement, we have provided funding to the following teams and their projects. These projects will provide opportunities for members and beyond to learn, connect and develop.

Engaging local learning, to coproduce care home QI resources: unlocking the potential of an underrepresented workforce within the Q community​
East Midlands AHSN

This project will develop quality improvement (QI) resources, designed and coproduced with care home teams. The aim is to empower care home teams to improve care quality through coproduction of accessible tools, designed for use in this setting. By making QI methodology more accessible to care home teams the project will build skills and knowledge required locally for collaborative learning by equipping care home teams to engage within the Q community.

The project builds on momentum of a care home learning network which formed virtually during the pandemic. The network shared learning throughout the pandemic and continues to grow. It has been driven by the regions’ Care Home Patient Safety Network, who have worked with care homes promoting a QI approach, coaching, and supporting staff in QI application for five years. Experience demonstrates that co-producing and tailoring resources to the needs of the sector enables staff to better connect with QI.

Remote consultations in mental health: learning from evaluation​
Health Innovation Network (HIN)

COVID-19 has meant significant changes in how mental health services in south London are delivered, shifting from face-to-face appointments to remote consultations. This project seeks to understand the impact of these changes using systemic rapid evaluation methodology.

Project focus:

  • Positive and negative effects on staff and service users of changing service delivery.
  • Effectiveness of remote consultations and identifying where the gaps are.
  • How to embed/adapt new and emerging models, ensuring greatest benefits for service users, carers and staff.

The HIN are working in partnership with the following organisations:

  • South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust
  • South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
  • Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust
  • NIHR Applied Research Collaborative South London
  • King’s Improvement Science
  • Mental Health Policy Research Unit

The HIN will be facilitating three Sharing the Learning Network webinars for the Q community, to share findings/learning from the wider project.

Bedside Learning Co-ordinator (BLC) Community of Practice
UCL Partners

The ‘Bedside Learning Coordinator’ (BLC) role was created at the NHS Nightingale Hospital London. The role was designed to support the wider learning health system, capturing staff insights into what was and was not working, and rapidly feeding these insights back to the leadership teams to review and agree how to respond, implementing required actions as appropriate.

Several hospitals across the NHS in England are now adopting the role across different settings to capture frontline insights on improving patient care, efficiency, and staff well-being. In response to an appetite to share experiences and learn from others, UCL Partners recently launched the BLC community of practice (CoP). This project is seeking to build and strengthen the CoP, establish a collaborative peer network of early adopter sites and co-produce a suite of resources and support materials to share learning and support the further spread and adoption of the BLC role.

Q North West Coast: Coaching for Improvement Programme​
North West Coast AHSN, Innovation Agency

The project aims to provide foundation coach training to 20 current Q members in the North West Coast with a specific focus on quality improvement. The programme will last for 5 months and support the need to build coaching and QI capacity and capability in the system. The coaching element is fully accredited by EMCC so each participant will receive a certification at the end of the course and gain skills to encourage staff to think more about QI.

The project will be led by specialist qualified coaching staff with QI experience from The Coaching Academy. Staff will be supported by the wider Innovation Agency to deliver the project to support the alignment of local and national priorities.

On completion of the programme there will be a learning and celebration event that will be open nationally to share the methodology and outcomes. There will also be a comprehensive evaluation and reporting at key points of the programme.

The Working Together Community: developing a coproduction community of practice for patients, the public, health and care practitioners
Oxford AHSN

This project will address regional priorities for action on inequalities in the workforce and population by establishing an online community of practice (CoP). This will bring together a broad range staff, the public and our local Q community to coproduce solutions. Oxford AHSN will use their extensive, existing networks to actively engage with marginalised and seldom heard groups to support diversity of voices within the CoP, expanding the Q community beyond health.

The project will support democratisation of improvement activities by hosting our CoP on Hexitime, a time-bank and skills share platform. This will provide a sustainable, and continuously expanding, community going forwards.

An embedded, formative evaluation from the beginning of the project, alongside a co-designed communications ecosphere, will support learning throughout and a generate novel ways to share this learning.

Development of a peer coaching community for the South West​
South West AHSN

Based on evidence from COVID Rapid Learning and engagement with Q members and improvement leaders, South West AHSN have seen a significant benefit in providing expertise and resources to create a Peer Coaching Community for the South West. This community will bring together Q members and improvement leaders to share learning and optimise new approaches.

The offer to Q members and improvement leaders comprises expertise in network design and convening networks, coaching from clinical improvement leaders and resources and expertise from the leaders of our Billions Institute Spread Initiative (itself inspired by IHI). They will also offer the expertise of their Communications function (to support promotion and dissemination) and Evaluation and Learning function to evaluate impact and progress.

The ambition is to co-create a self-sustaining, psychologically safe space that actively supports a culture of continuous learning in the South West by creating the conditions to enable the spread and adoption of innovative practice.

Cultural Fluency, Diversity Education and QI: collaborative to innovate maternity systems to reduce inequity and optimise outcomes for black women ​
West of England AHSN

This innovative pilot will deliver meaningful, actionable improvements to reduce inequity of outcomes for black women within maternity systems, through a collaborative QI approach.

Including a regional QI collaborative of midwives, to support psychological safety, peer support and QI coaching, Midwives will co-produce and implement small tests of change aimed at optimising outcomes for black women within maternity systems. This will include:

  • Cultural competency and diversity fluency education for midwives, examining unconscious biases, the role of the individual in perpetuating unsafe systems of care for black women.
  • 10 (five from two NHS trusts) Midwives to form a QI collaborative targeted on improving experiences and outcomes for black women in pregnancy.
  • QI training or coaching to design and implement QI at ground level, supported by the collaborative.
  • Support to develop as QI practitioners and to join the Q community.
  • Launching a Q Special Interest Group to maximise learning and wider QI coaching.

Wessex COVID-19 Community of Practice (WCCOP)​
Wessex AHSN

This project will bring together the lessons learned from the wave one and wave two crisis response activity in Wessex into one place: the Wessex COVID-19 Community of Practice (WCCOP). WCCOP seeks to build and scale emerging systems and networks of shared learning from the pandemic, whilst ensuring strategic system alignment with regional priorities and needs.

This work will enable Wessex to capture the learning and legacy of innovative services during the pandemic through the intensive support provide by Wessex AHSN. It will adapt them to work for suitable cohorts of citizens with the physiological and functional needs that are most likely to benefit from the convenience and effectiveness of ongoing community based vital signs, and other remote monitoring.

Yorkshire & Humber Quality Improvement Network ​
Yorkshire and the Humber AHSN

Building on existing work in this area, and the wealth of individual and collective QI expertise within Yorkshire and Humber, this project will identify QI practitioners, baseline and improve capability and capacity in QI. It will develop support for the QI community (including Q members) to meet, collaborate and support work taking place across NHS Organisations in Yorkshire and Humber. This will aim to raise the profile of QI in Yorkshire and Humber.

The group will meet quarterly with a focussed agenda to enable attendees to build a community of practice and develop partnership working across the county. The network will promote Q’s Creative Approaches to Problem Solving (CAPS) framework to:

    • gain insight and input to inform decision-making or understanding the problem
    • seek new perspectives to spark new thinking
    • reframe a problem to look at new ways of addressing it
    • harness new ideas and new solutions
    • prioritise solutions.


We are looking forward to seeing how these projects unfold. Teams will share their learning with, and involve, the wider community, so keep your eyes peeled for follow up activity.