9 January 2017

A People Participation Lead’s perspective on QI

Leigh Bell, People Participation Lead for Newham Adult Mental Health services tells us more about her role and service user and carer involvement across the Trust.

Could you give us a brief summary of your role and what a typical day at work is for you?

I am the People Participation Lead (PPL) for Newham which means I am responsible for getting interested service users and carers involved in the work of the Trust (and sometimes also elsewhere). There is really no typical day although every day usually consists of at least one meeting (as a minimum) be that with other staff/external parties or with service users/carers. My day usually starts navigating the treacherous roads/tow paths of East London.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The variety of people that I meet especially the service users and carers and seeing them get inspired by how their experiences and skills are sought and valued by the Trust. Seeing them realise that they are the experts of their experiences and as such have so much to offer. I love facilitating service users and carers to train others (staff and students) and seeing their confidence grow and their input appreciated.

What do you do in your day-to-day work to support us to continually improve?

I facilitate the voice of the service user and carers in many different areas of improvement. I support them to participate in audits, be active members of interview panels to improve the quality of staff that we recruit and to train new, existing and future staff. I also attend my local QI forum and via that and the Service User and Carer QI Steering Group we try and match up service users and carers with QI projects that they would like to be involved with. To me it is common sense to have service users and carers as part of QI project teams – how can we improve something without the participation of those using the service?

Do you think it is important for the leaders of this Trust to embrace quality improvement? Why?

Absolutely, to inspire everyone else staff, service users and carers alike to also embrace it and feel supported when they are doing so. It reassures everyone that they can make a difference and be a positive part of change and improvement.

What would you say to someone who feels that QI is a box ticking exercise and is unsure about the benefits of QI to us as a whole Trust and themselves individually?

Give it a go – see for yourself. Be open, look at the evidence and successes of previous and existing QI projects. It is a different way of working and often with a different set of people. Often a change is as good as a rest!

Do you have a story of something inspiring that has occurred through QI?

Not through a QI project directly however I encourage service users and carers to participate in QI bespoke training and it such good fun. Service users and carers are often subsequently motivated to sign up to further QI training such as Pocket QI. They then train alongside staff members, this can mean that connections are formed at an early stage and staff can experience directly the importance of having service users and carers as part of QI Project Teams even before the project  itself has formulated.


How do you see the role of QI in the Trust as we move forward?

QI will hopefully become even more embedded into the day to day work of the trust and the benefits will be self-evident.

Finally, could you sum up what quality improvement means to you and why you feel it is so important to us as a Trust to embrace.

It is a fancy term for using a particular system for improvement. We all need to be striving for better and too improve and there is always room for more. We should be very worried if we start to think that we are so good or so ‘outstanding’ that we don’t need to make any further changes.

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