Our West of England Academy is supporting healthcare professionals across the region to build the skills and knowledge to deliver long-term, sustainable improvements in patient care.

With the strengthened focus on transformation in health systems, it is increasingly important for us to support Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) around workforce capability and capacity in quality improvement, innovation and patient safety core skills.

Key stats

3,730 people from across our health and care communities have benefited from West of England Academy learning events and programmes this year

Improvement Coaches

Our network of Improvement Coaches continues to go from strength to strength. We support members of this network, all staff from our member organisations, to help their colleagues plan and deliver improvement projects that will make a real and positive difference to patient safety and care.

By providing training in proven improvement techniques and by encouraging cross-organisation learning, this network successfully supports transfer of knowledge and the adoption and spread of best practice.

Flow Coaching

Our Flow Coaching Programme is developing a group of regional flow experts and an improvement faculty capable of teaching and training staff.

Funded by the West of England AHSN and the Health Foundation, the programme is being delivered by Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH). Six coaches from the RUH attended the training in Sheffield last year and now with the support of the Sheffield Microsystem Coaching Academy they are learning how to become trainers for our region. The new teams are from Gloucestershire, Bristol, Bath, Southampton and Bournemouth.

The focus on patient flow has received increasing traction within healthcare, especially in relation to reductions in waiting times for emergency and elective care. With pressure on A&E services and increased awareness of issues such as weekend variation, there is a growing recognition that the health care system requires better coordination and new models of provision.

The Flow methodology provides a comprehensive diagnosis of how the local system is working and where to effectively focus improvement efforts. It aligns well with aspirations in the Five Year Forward View as it recognises that improving systems of care is a health system-wide agenda, requiring an end-to-end patient pathway approach across departments and organisations.

Continuous improvement in mental health services

A new online toolkit for people involved in providing and commissioning services for people with mental health problems was officially launched in December at the Houses of Parliament.

The MINDSet quality improvement toolkit was funded by the West of England AHSN and NHS Improvement, and designed with the aim of making continuous improvement in mental health easier.

The toolkit provides a range of improvement tools and handy summaries of national policy and guidance. There are also case studies demonstrating how different mental health services have used the tools, sharing their results and learning.

MOOC: Quality Improvement in Healthcare

We have partnered with the University of Bath to offer Quality Improvement in Healthcare through the FutureLearn platform – the UK’s leading organisation for the provision of ‘Massive Open Online Courses’ (MOOCs).

Our six-week course is designed for anyone working in a health or social care setting, from clinicians and administrators to hospitality and housekeeping staff, to enable them to change and improve their service. Around 7,000 people signed up for the online course in 2016-17, and the course is being repeated in 2017-18.

Welcome to Q

We were one of the first three AHSNs to roll out the Health Foundation’s Q initiative by recruiting a regional cohort of 128 people, who came together at the end of March for our launch event in Bristol.

Q is an initiative connecting people, who have improvement expertise, across the UK. Led by the Health Foundation and co-funded by NHS Improvement, Q’s mission is to foster continuous and sustainable improvement in health and care by creating opportunities for people to come together as a community – sharing ideas, enhancing skills and collaborating to make health and care better.

Our launch event was a fantastic opportunity to provide our new Q members with a better knowledge and understanding of how Q can make a real difference towards improving care for the communities we serve, and to start shaping an approach that will encourage networking, pooling of knowledge, insights and connections, and collaboration to make improvement happen.

Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships

Our spotlight was very much focused on Sustainable and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) this last year.

They were the focus of our annual conference in October 2016, attended by senior leaders from across the regional health and care community, industry partners and colleagues from organisations such as NHS England and Health Education England. The event helped colleagues to share and learn from each other, as well as from experts with insightful experience in leadership, cross-organisational culture change and delivering placebased systems of care.

We also have a lead director assigned to work closely with each of the three STPs in the West of England.

This support will continue as we appoint a full-time project manager for each STP, who will work within each STP programme management office and whose role will include acting as a conduit to and from the AHSN on improvement and innovation.

Download the full annual report here as a PDF or read it below via Issuu.