The Academy Quality Improvement Project has been set up to enhance quality improvement (QI) training for all doctors, across all specialties. Building on the Royal College of Physicians Learning to make a Difference Programme and Health Education England’s Making Every Moment Count, the project aims to embed QI training in all Colleges.

The Academy report Quality improvement – training for better outcomes was published in March 2016, and was the culmination of a year’s work with a group of more than 35 stakeholder groups to explore how to embed quality improvement training into medical education.

The report makes eight key recommendations:

  1. A progressive curriculum in quality improvement activity should underpin all training stages of a doctor, building capability and leadership, and a foundation for on-going lifelong learning and implementation – this will be incorporated into the ongoing Academy work with GMC on implementing and assessing GPCs within colleges, which includes quality improvement and patient safety
  2. Quality improvement should be integral to all clinical and non-clinical job descriptions and appraisal, and career recognition given for quality improvement achievements
  3. Patient involvement should be advocated and included at every level with recognition that this may be achieved in a variety of ways
  4. All trainees, and their trainers and multi-professional teams with which they work, should have access to quality improvement training
  5. Quality improvement activity should be supported at all levels, locally, regionally and by royal colleges and specialist societies in the form of enabling ‘core’ quality improvement support aligned with existing educational structures to permit expert facilitation, coaching, mentoring and inter-professional learning, with protected time to undertake it
  6. Health and social care executives and non-executives should role-model best practice quality improvement approaches and create an open culture with the focus on learning, ownership and accountability rather than reprimand, as this facilitates a quality improvement culture
  7. A repository of quality improvement activity should be established to empower learning and sharing
  8. A stakeholder group should be established under the auspices of a national body such as the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to align planning in quality improvement activity by key stakeholders and topic experts for the long-term, that is applicable to everybody, and to contribute to improving patient outcomes through education, training, research and collaboration.

Putting the recommendations into practice

Following on from the report the Academy undertook over 60 semi-structured interviews with people who have an interest in seeing the quality improvement agenda move forward to determine how best to take the recommendations forward.

With the information gathered from these interviews and the report recommendations the Academy has agreed the following next steps:

  • Produce a position statement, agreed by all colleges, on the value and validity of quality improvement to improve patient outcomes, efficiency and return on investment
  • Convene a working group to carry out agreed workstreams, with members from colleges and other key stakeholders, building on the consensus achieved with the report to oversee future developments. These would include work on revalidation and assessment, and a repository for quality improvement
  • Take forward and deliver selected specific agreed workstreams
  • Act as a catalyst and facilitator to bring together key parties to agree how to move the quality improvement agenda forward in a cost-effective and sustainable way
  • Maintain alignment with the GMC to implement GPCs into college curricula and assessment work, to examine robust ways of assessing proficiency in quality improvement
  • Ensure a four-nation focus across the work.