Investigations into high profile NHS failures have identified board dynamics as an important causal factor. Research suggests that high performing organisations are much more likely than low performing ones to have quality as their top priority. Bringing together executives and non-executives, this programme focuses on the boards quality and safety role.

Board leadership is fundamental to delivery of any improvement initiative. The NHS boards quality and safety leadership programme brings together NHS boards to explore how their organisation currently measures and monitors safety and how to move from retrospective counts of harm to more proactive, systems approaches.

To address this challenge, across the AHSN system we are developing a quality improvement infrastructure which will support continued service improvement and innovation. The programme is based on the substantial experience of AQuA in delivering a similar programme in the North West. The programme was tailored to meet Eastern AHSN’s needs based on virtual design testing with system leaders in the region.

As boards participate in the programme, we are connecting with system leaders and potential Q participants who wish to be involved in regional quality improvement work and support. Participants are asked to consider becoming members of the faculty, working alongside the EAHSN/AQuA team to build a sustainable local leadership faculty. We currently have five senior leaders who have volunteered to help deliver the programme in the future.

The programme is aligned with the Five Year Forward View, which recognises the ultimate responsibility of NHS boards for the quality and safety of care being provided by their organisation.

It also supports the national patient safety agenda and the move from retrospective counts of harm to more proactive, systems based solutions.

  • To date, five NHS Trusts from across the East of England have participated in the programme. Due to continual demand, we will continue to provide the programme throughout 2016/17.
  • The programme has received positive evaluation from delegates, and scores are in line with those experienced by AQuA in the North West.
  • There is significant interest in the programme from other parts of the country, including Anglia Ruskin Health Partnership. They are signposting NHS providers on their patch to access the EAHSN programme and as a result we have received applications from Essex trusts.
  • East Midlands AHSN has also approached AQuA to work with them to deliver a similar programme. EAHSN and EMAHSN have agreed a reciprocal approach to allow trusts in either region to access the most convenient dates. WMAHSN has expressed an interest in enabling their trusts to access the programme.
“All evidence underlines the vital role which NHS boards play in the delivery of safe high quality care. EAHSN are delighted to be partnering with AQuA to deliver this important programme; it is an enormous privilege to work with our NHS Boards as they share learning and design new ways to measure and monitor delivery of safe care”.


Susan Went, Director, EAHSN

Please contact the patient safety collaborative team for further information

© Eastern AHSN