Focus on quality improvement, not cost cutting, and save millions

Rather than looking for ways to reduce spending, a trust in Lancashire asks staff to become ‘quality champions’ – a refreshing approach that has improved outcomes and efficiency, writes editor Graham Scott

It is a common refrain by staff in any number of services and industries: cut spending and quality will suffer.

Few senior managers appreciate that the opposite approach is more likely to be successful: invest in quality and the result will invariably be more efficient working and better outcomes all round.

The board that runs Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust therefore deserves to be commended for actively encouraging staff from across the organisation to propose ways in which the quality of services might be improved.

Going for gold

As a result, at least £12 million has been saved, patient experience and outcomes have been enhanced and staff are more engaged.

The scheme is now in its fifth year, having been launched around the time of the London Olympics. Staff who make suggestions that are adopted by the trust become known as quality champions and acquire gold, silver or bronze status depending on the impact of their idea in practice.

Everyone in the trust is invited to take part, and proposed changes have emerged from everywhere, with nurses among those to have had the best ideas.

How refreshing to see such a simple idea embraced at all levels across an organisation, with such impressive results. Imagine the impact on a national scale if other boards adopted a similar approach.

Read more