1 May 2017

Quality Improvement (QI): What drives this?

Thana, an ELFT Expert by Experience writes about his experiences at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare and of getting involved with quality improvement at East London Foundation Trust

Many of us are engaged in improving our lives to make it easier for both ourselves and for other people. The challenge in Health and Social Care is how to engage with clients (service users and carers) AND collaborate with medical professionals and support staff to radically improve, advance the status quo and measure service excellence. It is about working symbiotically.

I was privileged to attend the International Forum, an IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) and BMJ show at London EXCEL Conference Centre (kind courtesy of Tim and Marco) on the 26-28 April 2017, where over 3000 international delegates were in attendance. At times, it felt like I was at the United Nations. On the second opening day, there was an Amazon drum music incantation – dare I say without the rain dance – performed by our talented multi-disciplinary staff!

It was exciting to listen to the opening presentation from Lord Ara Darzi who was being interviewed by two “experts by experiences” members. Many people found this talk inspiring as it enshrined the ethos of the NHS Constitution… – “Nothing about us without us” manifested by tangible actions. This principle of engagement should always underpin all QI projects. The words of wisdom from Lord Darzi regarding the role of “experts” to enact real change are revolutionary.

The first hand stories shared by experts at the initial ELFT experience day event held at the Mile End Park Ecology Pavillion on the 26 April were fascinating with follow-up site visits to various venues. The presentation by the “experts by experiences” team at the Mile End Ecology Pavilion to over 150 International delegates were truly inspiring – which documented the various personal journeys and QI outcomes. The role-playing by fellow team members showcasing both “good and bad” practices in QI staff engagement was enlightening to the delegates. Ugly practices have virtually been eliminated at the East London Foundation Trust (ELFT) due to constant auditing of services.

Delegates at the conference who also shared their personal experiences were awe-inspiring as they advanced forward with innovative solutions.  The reality is that we have a global team of experts with diverse experiences who are constructively challenging the status quo and advancing lateral thinking to quality improvements.

I had an encounter at the conference with an ELFT staff member, Mr Farouk, who imparted very inspiring words, which have sparked me to pursue this onward journey of self-improvement and share experiences within QI engagement to humanize the process.

By real example, I can share good practices being enacted locally by the Psychological Therapies Unit led by Dr Amra Rao and their team. We are brainstorming innovative system redesign to tackle service demand with resource challenges and exploring innovative consulting models with clients.

This blueprint diagram showcases the transformational pathways while the QI metrics are being formulated with assistance from QI expert lead, Emma.

This proactive approach initiated by Dr Amra’s team resonates with the core message shared by other “experts by experiences” at the conference which followed two core strands:  “we are not waiting” and “we are patients who are impatient” for tangible advancement to improve services.

Moreover, we are reviewing holistically the “whole person” social resilience issues focused towards integrated health and social care recovery pathways as depicted below by Dr Amra Rao’s team.

Whole Person Model diagram developed by Mental Health Wales


This international conference ended with a former NASA astronaut, Chris Hadfield, showcasing the ability of humans to work cooperatively to design innovative propulsion transport capsule systems which can land astronauts on the Moon, spacewalk in deep space and construct and co-exist in an international space station.

This IHI event may be construed as a small step for us but it is a giant step for clients to radically change the ecosystem of health and social care improvements. This is the ultimate challenge for QI and for us all to be pioneers and working symbiotically as one team to constantly adapt to change.

I end with another case example: My parents get visited daily by an exceptional District Nurse called Mary (employed by the Trust) to administer insulin at home but the positive emotional wellbeing imparted during each of her visit is awe inspiring. What drives this ELFT staff member to deliver consistent exceptional care each morning, which is always positive and inspiring?  Can we truly measure this quality of care or this “driver” encoded within the psychology of this person to confer compassionate care? 

If you wish to discuss any matters raised in this blog please contact me via the QI team else engage DIRECTLY with the QI team if I have inspired you to spark new projects within your domain. Engaging with QI has assisted me to inspire and improve the quality of human lives by Leading by Example.  So to conclude, QI is indeed driven by ALL people.



Expert by Experience









(This blog was drafted in a personal INDEPENDENT capacity and is unedited and may not represent the views of the TRUST. )

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