Mar 032014
Dominique Bird

Dominique Bird

One year ago we launched Improving Quality Together, a training opportunity that gives staff ownership when it comes to quality improvement in NHS Wales.

A year on, 5752 NHS Wales Staff have completed the Bronze Level of the training, helping us all work towards a common language for quality improvement.

And why are we working towards an even higher staff uptake? Because a common language of quality improvement in NHS Wales benefits staff and patients alike.

Take Jackie Reynolds’ project, for example. Her Silver Improving Quality Together project was about making sure patients receive the correct dosages of drugs to treat asthma and other respiratory problems.

Before the project, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board had the second highest respiratory drug cost in Wales. In addition, high doses of corticosteroids carry an increased risk of adverse effects.

When Jackie began running a pilot project in a GP practice she discovered that part of the problem was the variation in dosage levels between different brands of inhalers. Working with the practice nurses, they identified the need for clear guidance on dosage for different inhalers and designed a dosage chart together.

Since the project began, between 10 and 25 per cent of patients attending clinics have had their dosage reduced every month, protecting them from possible harm caused by inappropriate levels of medication.

This is an example of small changes making a big difference to the healthcare system. And it provides a further opportunity to scale up and be applied to other health boards in other parts of Wales. It reduces patient risk, reduces cost, and reduces staff workload.

And these stories from staff using Improving Quality Together lessons are continuing to emerge all the time. And I believe that as we work together and as more of us are using the common language and understanding that Improving Quality Together provides us, we’ll continue to see this positive impact for staff and patients over the coming years, too.

Dominique Bird is Programme Manager for Improving Quality Together. See more of her posts here.

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