May 112015
Iain Roberts

Iain Roberts

This year I attended the 20th International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare (#Quality2015) with colleagues from NHS Wales. It was a forum packed full of learning and here are some of my thoughts and highlights.

You find lots of wisdom and learning at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare.  Whether you want to learn about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the challenges of restraint and patient safety on a mental health unit, or the process of reporting serious untoward incidents in different health systems, then there is a lot to consider on a wide range of healthcare topics, some I’ve really enjoyed about the forum each time I have been.

Presenting a poster

I find having an abstract accepted for the forum both exciting and scary at the same time.  It’s exciting, because it is a great opportunity to share your work with colleagues from around the world. It feels scary because although I want people to share with colleagues what we have been doing in Wales, I don’t want someone to point out that I have made a glaring error.

It’s not the first time that I had presented a poster at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare.  This was my sixth poster as either author or co-author, so it might sound odd to be nervous.

There were hundreds of posters on display this year, and thanks to colleagues, I was able to secure a prime position to display mine.  I had submitted an abstract about the role 1000 Lives Improvement has played in supporting NHS Wales to develop mortality reviews for all patients who have died in hospitals.

I had the opportunity to present the poster to a group of clinical colleagues from around the world, which you can read about here, and perhaps most excitingly for me, was when it came to take down the poster, I met an Associate Professor of Medicine from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and I am hoping that they will be sharing some of their work on mortality reviews.

This was my second visit to the forum, and what I learnt this time is that there appeared to be a number of faces who were also there at my first visit.  Many of our visitors to the NHS Wales stand were people who have seen what we’ve been doing in Wales and wanted to know how our improvement work had progressed.

The conference is a truly international event and to show this international representation, we invited delegates to plot on the map where they were visiting from. Colleagues from Newfoundland, Brazil, South Africa, India and China all visited us to talk quality improvement, with lots of people wanting to learn about our work.


My highlights this year included, hearing Don Berwick’s closing presentation, which you can see here.   His message of ‘move the knowledge, not the people’ was very powerful.  Martine Wright, captain of the women’s Great Britain Sitting Volleyball Team, and survivor of the London bombings in 2007 gave one of the most moving and inspirational presentations that I have seen, which my colleague Claire Roche also noted as one of her highlights.

Another highlight for me was hearing Professor Charles Vincent speak about his document, published by the Health Foundation, on patient safety.  Improving patient safety and building reliable care processes is an ongoing commitment for us all and the joint sessions with Sir David Dalton was very interesting.

I attended a combined presentation from a number of different hospitals and units providing mental health services which was refreshing and exciting as they talked about their improvement work.  One of the speakers in this session was from East London NHS Trust. We’ll be welcoming colleagues from East London at the 1000 Lives National Learning Event in June.

One of my favourite bits of learning across the week came from a group of colleagues from Ghana who spoke about their improvement work and teaching their staff about how to do improvements: ‘When teaching your staff about how to measure and analyse data, we recommend that you teach this in the mornings.’ This resonates with me as I am a member of the 1000 Lives Improvement team that delivers Improving Quality Together to colleagues in NHS Wales.

Looking forward to next year and the 2016 Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare will be in Gothenburg.  Opportunities to submit abstracts to support a verbal presentation or to submit an abstract for a poster presentation open soon, and I would recommend this to you.

Iain Roberts is a senior service improvement manager at 1000 Lives Improvement.

Got any comments on Iain’s highlights? Lave them below or join the conversation on Twitter using @1000LivesPlus.

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