• Run by NHS South West, from May 2009 to September 2010.
  • Focused on acute services, across the south west of England.
  • Set out to improve quality and patient safety: developing the patient safety infrastructure; further testing of different safety measures; and achieving greater understanding of how to spread safety improvement regionally.
  • Involved delivering a bespoke curriculum to build local capability in supporting patient safety.

This project worked with every acute trust in the south west of England, with the aim of improving quality and patient safety. The Health Foundation worked with NHS South West to build capability and implement measureable improvements in the overall safety of care in the participating hospitals. Technical support was provided by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), based in the US.

The project aimed to:

  • build a wider base of hospitals that can demonstrate improved patient safety through reliable execution of evidence-based practice
  • build models for improvement within each hospital
  • establish a strategy for spreading improvement within the participating hospitals
  • create the ability to share learning regionally and nationally.

The goals of this programme were to develop the skills of hospital staff to improve safety for their patients, and for staff to become respected leaders from whom others may learn. Some very specific targets were set, such as 'reduce mortality by 15% and adverse events by 30%'.

A strong group of experts were developed into a ‘faculty’ and conducted coaching with hospital teams. The IHI supported the development of a bespoke curriculum, training faculty and other key staff, providing access to a project extranet, and coaching the first wave of the collaborative work.

Focusing on sustainability, NHS South West applied proven safety improvement changes and spread knowledge about successful changes throughout participating trusts. Workshops and events were held that helped participants actively transfer skills.

As learning sessions took place, collaboration between hospitals significantly increased. Leadership sessions for leading improvement work were held at participating hospitals and a significant number of new measures were introduced as part of the project.