What is NHS Lothian’s Clinical Quality Approach?

This is a new way of approaching quality in NHS Lothian.  With this approach to service improvement we aim to deliver ‘high quality, safe and person-centred care at the most affordable cost’. This acknowledges that every £1million of waste, unnecessary or inappropriate costs in one area of our system, denies us the opportunity to invest that £1million in another area of our system.

This approach will embrace clinical pathways and processes across primary, secondary and social care services, physical and mental health services and engage senior clinicians and managersin our acute hospitals and our four Health and Social Care Partnerships.

Key elements will include:

The development of a Clinical Quality Academy which will deliver training and build capacity and capability for quality improvement – led by Dr Simon Edgar, Director of Medical Education.

The development of a Clinical Quality Programme which will support service based clinical teams to identify key priorities for improvement and support, guide teams with pathway mapping, testing and implementing change and tracking and maintaining improvements within the service – led by Dr Nikki Maran, Associate Medical Director for patient safety and quality.

Pathway work within clinical services will be led by Clinical Quality Management Leads supported by appropriate expertise from the quality programme support team and reporting within the new corporate management structure.

The Clinical Quality Executive Board, chaired by Tim Davison, will oversee the approach and will identify the initial pathways to be worked through.

How will this fit with other initiatives within NHS Lothian?

This is a whole organisation approach that builds on the quality improvement work that has been done before, such as Lean in Lothian.

With our Strategic Plan (Our Health, Our Care, Our Future) and our values as a foundation, this approach will pull together our existing patient safety and patient experience programmes. It will harness existing expertise and experience and will led to long term improvements in quality and cost effectiveness acrossNHS Lothian.  However, this is not a quick fix. It requires commitment and resources at all levels.

What do we need to help make this happen?

From the attendance at the Clinical Change Forumit is evident that the commitment from clinical teams across the organisation is there. A business case is being developed to secure additional financial support to allow us to ensure staff have the time available to participate and to allow us to improve our collection and understanding of data which will support the reviews of clinical pathways.