Over 4,500 Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) work in NHS Wales and there are a significant number working in other public services in Wales, including social care and education and in the private and charitable sectors. AHPs are part of multi-disciplinary team across the country, and are increasingly involved at the interface between primary and secondary care.With the increased emphasis on a common language and consistent approach to improvement in NHS Wales, it is very important for all AHPs to understand how to lead or support quality improvement initiatives.
1000 Lives Plus has published a new version of its Quality Improvement Guide, specifically aimed at AHPs. It contains some examples of how the improvement methodology has been applied in physiotherapy and dietetics.
The physiotherapy example covers transfers from in-patient to out-patient services – an area where we know high quality AHP support has a major impact on patient experience and clinical outcomes. The pilot project reduced the average waiting time for a follow-up physio appointment after being discharged from hospital from 24 days to 16 days – a 33 per cent reduction in waiting times.That is a ‘step-change’ improvement in quality service that will have a marked difference in the experience of patients needing physiotherapy.
The new guide also links in to the Improving Quality Together framework, which is designed to help all NHS Wales staff understand and apply the quality improvement methodology.
I would encourage all AHPs to see this as an opportunity to be involved in the transformation of healthcare. Through improving the work we do, we will develop an AHP community dedicated to clinical excellence and quality assurance.
Alison Strode is Therapy Advisor for Wales