Dr Alan Willson

Dr Alan Willson is the former director of 1000 Lives Improvement. Follow him on Twitter: @DrAlanWillson

Nov 182014
 
Dr Alan Willson

Dr Alan Willson

I agree with the aims of prudent healthcare – I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t.

While the pre-election arms race between Westminster politicians is about promising extra money for the NHS, how much more useful to ask how we are spending what we have. When we ask that, like health systems all over the world, we find we could do much better AND that the result could be better care.

The more interesting question is “how?”. As Richard Bohmer says in his book Designing Care: “the work of care and the operating systems that support that work must be explicitly designed for that purpose and not just left to accrete by chance and happenstance”.

My recent experience of cardiac care at Morriston Hospital showed how a well defined pathway allows the many providers and individual receivers of care to play their part. Porters, cardiologists, A&E staff, nurses, technicians, GPs and physiotherapists were all confident and expert enough to support one another, take a pride in their contribution and to ensure that my experience was one of prudent healthcare.

Continue reading »

Feb 032014
 
Dr Alan Willson

Dr Alan Willson

Trying to understand how we improve is not as complicated as you may think at first.

There are basically two ways of doing it. One is through radical changes, large-scale change efforts that often deliver great results, but require a lot of effort.

The other is through small, almost imperceptible, incremental changes, which build up one on top of each other, shaping the system gradually into a very different shape.

But what if we combined the two? Continue reading »

Jan 012014
 
Dr Alan Willson

Dr Alan Willson

Happy New Year! And welcome to #IQT2014. New Year’s Resolutions are often about small changes that make a big difference. That’s why we’re dedicating the first two weeks of 2014 to Improving Quality Together, to encourage NHS Wales staff to put “Make a start on IQT Bronze” on their New Year’s Resolutions list.

Improving Quality Together is the national learning programme for all NHS Wales staff and contractors. It provides a common language and consistent approach to improving the quality of services in NHS organisations across Wales.

Over 3,500 individuals completed IQT in 2013 – and if you haven’t taken part yet, over the next two weeks, we’ll be showing you the benefits IQT Bronze can make for you, your workload, and, most importantly, your patients. Continue reading »

Dec 172013
 
Dr Alan Willson

Dr Alan Willson

Every year I am inspired by the level and creativity of the work that is entered into the NHS Wales Awards.

The projects are diverse, covering many areas of healthcare and sometimes challenge the status quo and the accepted ways of doing things.

But all are driven by one aim; to improve the quality of patient care and experience.

Delivering quality improvement is vital to ensuring our NHS services are sustainable and meet the needs of patients. Continue reading »

Nov 112013
 
Dr Alan Willson

Dr Alan Willson

There is much talk of ‘co-production’ in public services these days. The idea is that if you allow the people who use the service at least an equal role in designing and managing it, you end up with a much better service.

This is a change of mindset which relies on professionals letting go some control and learning new skills.

But as the recently launched nocturnal home renal dialysis service in Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMUHB) shows, this approach really can be better than the way we usually work. Continue reading »

Aug 072013
 
Dr Alan Willson

Dr Alan Willson

Dr Don Berwick is a physician, a professor, a leader in patient safety, an inspiration. He is also a good friend of Wales, having been involved as long ago as 2006, helping to create ‘Designed to Deliver’, the Quality Improvement Plan (QUIP), which led to the 1000 Lives Campaign among other things. I have heard him speak several times in Wales on the need to put patient safety at the forefront of our thinking, to adopt quality improvement as the only way forward, and to believe that we can build a better health service for all. Continue reading »

Apr 082013
 
Dr Alan Willson

Dr Alan Willson

I want to thank all the staff of NHS Wales and the health department in the Welsh Government who took part in the pilot campaign of Champions for Health and who are now fitter and healthier as a result.

A pilot is an opportunity to learn and there are many lessons we can draw from the activity of the past six months. Champions for Health had an important aim – addressing the major issues of population health, starting with improving the health of healthcare staff. Continue reading »

Mar 152013
 
Dr Alan Willson

Dr Alan Willson

Several people will be on their way from Wales to the BMJ/IHI International Forum in London next month. While there they’ll see innovation and best practice from around the world. It’s an opportunity to meet experts in quality improvement and patient safety and bring new knowledge back to Wales.

I’ve recently been reflecting on the ideas and examples I heard at the IHI National Forum last December. Here are five (and a half) lessons I learned, recognising a huge debt to Brent James and others who willingly shared their presentations with me so I could fully get to grips with what they were saying. Continue reading »

Feb 012013
 
Post by Dr Alan Willson

Dr Alan Willson

If I knew my car wasn’t going to start one morning each week, I’d consider scrapping it and buying a new one. Yet in healthcare we accept a 20% failure rate (80% reliability) as ‘good’. One day in five we may as well not turn up!

Is that good enough? For our patients, our colleagues or our organisations? Failure costs time, money and the goodwill of the people using our services. Achieving high reliability is not just about being efficient or effective – it is about providing care we can be proud of. Continue reading »

Jan 302013
 
Dr Alan Willson

Dr Alan Willson

Looking back over 2012, one of the highlights of my year was meeting an astronaut, Dr Dafydd Williams.

Known as Dave rather than Dafydd in his native Canada, he was delighted to visit the land of his Welsh ancestors to talk about the similarities between healthcare and spaceflight at a special event organised by 1000 Lives Plus. The event expanded concepts explored by Dave in ‘Achieving Peak Performance’, a white paper published with the support of the Health Foundation. Continue reading »