Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust (LCFT) covers the whole of the county and employs around 7,000 members of staff across more than 400 sites, working with a multitude of partners to provide health & wellbeing services.
LCFT, like many healthcare trusts is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and is required to meet strict standards in patient safety and care. Further to their CQC inspection in 2015 rating ‘Requires Improvement’, the trust set out to re-evaluate certain areas of the organisation, with quality improvement as one of the top priorities.
The size of the organisation and the geographical spread meant the adoption of QI happened in small, sporadic pockets with no clear QI plan in place. Tracking improvement was problematic and great work often went unrecognised.
With no set priorities, limited education across the trust on QI and no centralised location to store improvement work, it became more apparent than ever that a quality improvement programme was required.
Shortly after the CQC inspection LCFT worked with lead community health commissioners with a mutual goal to build a local CQUIN (Commissioning for quality and innovation) initiative to build QI capacity within the organisation and kick start a new quality improvement programme.
With a strong appetite for QI progression and a need to build a QI framework, LCFT worked closely with AQUA (Advancing Quality Alliance) to build a new QI programme looking at the implementation of QI across the trust. This included an internal Bite Size QI training package, online training, podcasts and face-to-face support. Once this was in place LCFT began promoting local, divisional delivery with QI leads facilitating training to get staff up to speed.
By 2017 LCFT introduced an annual showcase conference devoted to QI where staff could present their improvement work. This also staged the launch of Life QI as the quality improvement software of choice.
Life QI became the single tool for recording improvement activity, supporting staff to undertake improvement work by guiding and recording their improvement journey and allowing the trust to see the totality of the improvement work taking place which helped with best practice. Staff were empowered to independently run improvement projects through the Life QI system focusing on the priorities outlined in the organisation's 3-year Quality Plan.
The impact of Life QI
Life QI offers a systematic approach to QI initiatives and visibility of quality improvement projects across the trust. By providing a visible QI platform (Life QI) people are enabled to run projects, spark up discussions with others across the trust and openly look at colleagues improvement work to see if the same can be applied in their team.
Video Credit: Helen Lee, Experience of Care Professional Lead, Patient Experience Team | NHS England
At the time of filming: Helen Lee, Head of Quality Improvement and Experience at Lancashire Care, created by Innovation Agency, North West Coast, AHSN.
With a steady growth of improvement projects taking place and a significant increase of staff involvement in QI, teams across LCFT are showing fantastic engagement, driving improvement work within their teams and network, sharing their learning with others and presenting their QI projects at the LCFT QI showcase event each year.
LCFT are starting to create a QI evidence base in Life QI for the next CQC inspection, with staff having access to improvement work at their finger-tips.
Continuous quality improvement is now firmly on LCFT's agenda. Future areas of focus are for LCFT to facilitate spread and adoption to ensure that the great improvement work happening is replicated in other areas of the organisation and to keep up the enthusiasm shown by the staff resulting in further growth of QI activity. The Life QI team will continue to offer support through training webinars, access to the 'how to articles' and be available on live chat.