Blog: Leading quality improvement in primary care

Dr Joey McHugh talks about her Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) coaching experience and how she has used her knowledge to help lead Quality Improvement (QI) across Somerset.
Joey explains: “I went on the IHI Patient Safety Officer programme in 2016 with the support of the South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN). It ignited a passion for QI and subsequently I started to build a local QI network and work on projects to best use this newly gained knowledge.
For me it’s about the person to person connections and engaging people in the whole process; so when the opportunity for the IHI Coaching Course came around I was really keen to attend the next one – in fact I went out of my way to ensure I was on it!
The course was incredible – it gave me time to think and really showed me how you can achieve QI if you have that connection. I went on the residential course at Roffey Park, where the environment was such that you had the headspace to gain insight into yourself and the potential opportunities back at work. There were 40 of us on the course, some from the NHS, some from industry, and it make you feel like you were in a special society – one that would help you to make a difference. There were discussions about the challenges we face but always with a hint of optimism and constructive debate about always moving forward.
Having time with the team from the IHI showed us the possibilities of what we could do with QI – and to see their enthusiasm after many decades of experience was really fantastic. It was also great to spend time with other people from across the UK, and those from the South West – having time and space learning more about how they deal with challenges and celebrate success.
The course has given me confidence and tools to enhance projects within my own organisation and wider in cross-system projects through getting front line teams to meaningfully engage and sustain improvement work.
Without having been on the course, it would have been very difficult to have had the confidence to persist along a challenge path – but now – I have a reference point, to go back and think about how that opportunity felt and how much more we can achieve!”
If you are interested in how you can apply a similar approach, please contact our team to get involved with your Patient Safety Collaborative on patientsafety@swahsn.com

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