Quality improvement approaches – increasingly well-established in NHS acute hospitals – could play a key role in improving the quality of mental health care.

A growing number of mental health providers (in the UK and beyond) are beginning to embed quality improvement across their organisations, with some encouraging results. The approach is based on the concept that sustained improvement is best achieved by empowering frontline teams, service users and carers to design, implement and test changes to services.

This new report by The King’s Fund describes the quality improvement journey of three mental health organisations (two in England and one in Singapore). It provides key insights and lessons for others considering embarking on a similar journey.

A useful resource, highlighted by the report for those interested in using quality improvement in a mental health setting, is the MINDSet website, which was developed by the West of England AHSN in collaboration with a number of partners.

MINDSet includes examples where mental health service user leaders are trained in quality improvement. The hope is that by applying the systematic methods of quality improvement and integrating it with co-production, there is scope to involve service users in designing and planning services to maximise their effectiveness and impact.

“Co-production in quality improvement is not a very well-developed space, but it is ripe for integration. People aren’t doing that very well at the moment; they’re missing a trick. They might get someone with lived experience to help redesign a service but they’re not using a quality improvement methodology. So, they’re missing out on the process mapping, the testing and the learning… I think if you combine co-production with quality improvement methodology, the quality improvement methodology is stronger for it and vice versa.”

Anna Burhouse, Director of Quality, West of England AHSN

Find out more and download The King’s Fund report here.

Posted on July 19, 2017

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