26 August 2021

The Service User Voice at the Heart of the ‘Crisis Pathway’ QI forum

By Sher Kayani, Improvement Advisor

4 minute watch

Quality Improvement (QI) forums are often seen as the heartbeat of QI in directorates at ELFT. Established locally in many of the directorates at ELFT, the purpose of QI Forums are to provide a space to support and share learning around QI work in the directorate; where improvement work is approved so that it has the supportive structure to succeed and; where staff and service users can come to express an interest on building their capability in QI to support the directorate.

Although Clinical Directors are accountable for the functioning of the QI forum, they have traditionally also been chaired by the Clinical Director. However, in the name of co-production, we are seeing more QI forums chaired by service users or carers, with the clinical director as the co-chair. This idea was first tested in the Bedfordshire Community Mental Health QI forum, the impact of which contributed to increased attendance and engagement from service users, carers and staff at the forum.

Dr Angharad Ruttley (Clinical Director, Crisis Pathway) noticed a lack of attendance and representation at the newly established QI Forum from across teams, service users and carers. Therefore, the decision was collectively made at the forum to test whether a service user or carer chairing the forum would have an impact on the attendance at the forum, particularly to encourage service users and carers to attend.

Upma Monga (service user, and now People Participation Lead for Luton), became the first service user chair of the QI forum. Upma was able to create an environment where everyone felt valued, heard, and included. Since becoming the Chair of the forum, she has enhanced her own knowledge of QI as well as her understanding of the different services along the pathway. Moreover, she was able to build and strengthen her network across staff, service users and carers across the pathway.

Katie Richardson (QI coach and Specialist Occupational Therapist) regularly attends the forum. She has noticed that a service user or carer chairing the forum has made it more accessible for others to attend, including service users and carers. She also explains that a service user or carer chair has provided a good balance of conversation and advice provided to teams working on QI projects.

Watch the video to hear what Dr Angharad Ruttley, Katie Richardson and Upma Monga had to say about the impact of a service user chairing the QI forum had on its attendance and culture.


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