20 August 2020

Community Health Newham Service Users & Carers Lead the Way

By Susan Alfred, Improvement Advisor

Congratulations to the Community Health Newham (CHN) directorate for delivering two firsts in their directorate on Tuesday 21st July 2020.  With a mixed team of enthusiastic service users, carers and staff the directorate saw –

  • Their first service user/carer inspired and led project officially started and
  • Their first project launch on a virtual platform.

The project team aims to deliver improvements that will benefit service users, carers and staff who are involved in the interviewing process in the Trust and they set about doing this using the ELFT Sequence of Improvement.

Step 1


Last year, surveys with service users/carers across the Community Health Services highlighted a few areas that could be improved upon regarding their involvement with staff interviews.  Service user and carers who supported interview panels experienced variation in the approach and delivery of the interviews.  It was clear that the processes had some very good elements and other weaker practices.  For example, responses to two of the questions service users were asked regarding interview involvement showed the following:

A staff survey on this matter soon followed, which also identified the interview involvement processes could be improved.


A quality issue had been identified.

Step 2


Prior to Covid-19, the Newham Working Together Group (WTG) service users and carers had been considering the start of a project around interview involvement to follow-up on the issues captured in the surveys. Once the pandemic hit and interviews were moved to virtual platforms, they once again noted some process problems and thought this was a good opportunity to use their knowledge of quality improvement to address this quality issue. They quickly gathered a project team, meeting virtually, to plan for the first service user/carer led project in the Newham directorate.

Supported by the directorate’s Patient Participation Lead and Improvement Advisor, they were also the first to use a fresh approach for initiation of a project, where they trialed working through a project start up pack before receiving project approval at the Newham Quality Improvement Forum. The pack helps teams to bond as they explore their project rationale and possible ideas for improvement together.

The project start-up pack included: (i) the project charter template to help them explore the reasons for the project and settle on a smart aim and (ii) a tool to better understand the problem – a fishbone diagram which helped them to capture major themes.  This tool was used to capture feedback from service users and carers involved in interviews across all three of the Community Health Services.

Step 3



The information the team had gathered was then used to plan the strategic approach for improvement.  Using another QI tool in the pack, (iii) the driver diagram, the team settled on some primary and secondary drivers and some possible change ideas that could be tested (see below).

Driver Diagram

QI Forum & Project Launch

The project team presented at the monthly Community Health QI Forum chaired by Ben Braithwaite, Clinical Director for Newham. The project team and their pre-launch work was well received, and the Chair happily approved it. Within a week the team were launching the project in the directorate virtually, having invited other service users, and staff involved in interviews, to attend.  Some team members added celebratory backgrounds to their MS Teams profiles and the Sandra Erskine, Project Lead, made sure she had the QI letters balloons for the event (see below).

At the launch, the team presented their journey so far, showing the progress they had made using the QI tools and then facilitating an interactive session involving attendees in an idea generation activity. This was a fantastic project launch, a real credit to the project team. One attendee remarked:

     “It was really great to hear feedback and ideas for improvement from the service users.”

The team are now looking forward to starting the next step in the Sequence of Improvement, testing change ideas using the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) framework in the Community Health Service directorates in the coming months.


The team want to say a big thank you to all who have supported this project

Please get in touch if you want to know more


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