The topic of continuous quality improvement (CQI) is firmly back on the agenda for NHS Trusts and ICBs.

For some, that’s not an issue. Perhaps 10% have shown themselves to be really good at this for years now. Another 30% or so will have dabbled with CQI with mixed results, delivering interesting but isolated improvements. But the initial enthusiasm often fizzles out, with no system in place to ensure it sustains.

That still leaves an awful lot of organisations for whom CQI is something that’s traditionally been shunted into a corner, deprioritised behind a hundred other more pressing problems. And for ICBs this is all brand new and a major opportunity to drive system wide, consistent improvement.

For some, CQI is confused with failed turnaround programmes that search for cost reductions and productivity gains that do not last and irritate staff. There is a way to deliver CQI that focuses on strategic alignment; performance routines and behaviours; leadership development; and creating a problem-solving culture. Ironically, it helps solve the very problems that keep being prioritised over the creation of a long-term CQI programme.

How can we help deliver a culture of continuous quality improvement?

We recognise that each and every organisation is unique and needs a bespoke approach. There are some common principles and lessons that we have learned about creating a culture of continuous quality improvement.

Our approach has been developed over several years working alongside healthcare organisations to deliver outstanding outcomes. This is about making improvement part of the day job from CEO to frontline with the aim of improving care for patients and being a better place to work.

This combines to create a problem-solving, values-led CQI culture. This is what makes CQI sustainable; when it becomes part of the fabric of an organisation, resistant to future changes of leadership or shifts in strategic direction.

We have upskilled


NHS staff, at all grades,
in CQI techniques.


An acute Trust ranked in the top 20% of all Trusts for staff engagement in the NHS Staff Survey


More than a 20% reduction in harm through administration and prescribing errors in another trust


An 80% increase in Same Day Emergency Care activity and a reduction in spent in department

Watch on-demand: KPMG/Catalysis conference

Over the last decade, we have worked with 16 UK Trusts and over 100 organisations worldwide as trusted continuous quality improvement partners and seen enormous strides forward in patient, people, quality, delivery, and financial outcomes.

Over the last two years, we came together to share lessons learnt and identify potential new ways of working to ensure a culture of continuous quality improvement is embedded across health and social care.

Where are we on the continuous quality improvement journey? Our Partner, Jason Parker, provides his view here.

2023 event

Medway’s patient first journey

Jayne Black – CEO, Medway NHS Foundation Trust

How do we use our approach for continuous improvement to solve national, regional and local issues?

Kim Barnas – CEO, Catalysis

Change, Choice and Principles

Dr Andy Heeps – Deputy CEO and COO, University Hospitals Sussex, NHS Foundation Trust

The Leeds improvement method & NHS improvement approach

Sir Julian Hartley – CEO, NHS Providers

Citizen Experience Excellence in the face of adversity

Jo Thomson – Partner, KPMG and Holly Abbott – Senior Manager, KPMG

Panel discussion

Russ Jewell – KPMG
Jayne Black – Medway NHS Foundation Trust
Andy Heeps – University Hospitals Sussex
Simon Sethi – RUH Bath
Nim Chandran – KPMG

Measuring the Value of the Lean Management System

Pam Reznicsek – Kaizen Learning and Development Consultant, Salem Health Hospitals and Whitney D’Aboy – Director of Continuous Improvement, Salem Health Hospitals

2022 event

Daily management & Incident Command Centre

Dr. Lucy Xenophon, MD, MPH, Chief Transformation Officer, Mount Sinai Morningside, USA

Making the change stick

Dame Marianne Griffiths DBE, Former CEO, University Hospitals Sussex

Aligning systems for sustainment

Kim Barnas – CEO, Catalysis, USA

How to lead a health system using lead principles

Dr Eric Dickson, MD, President and CEO, UMass Memorial Health

Lessons learnt and looking to the future

panel discussion

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Working in collaboration – Proud2bOps

Bringing the latest insights, lessons learnt and reflections from the healthcare operational community

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Our perspectives on embedding CQI

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