King's Fund Report: Quality improvement in mental health
Published by the King's Fund (20 July 2017): 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 report 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.
- Embracing quality improvement requires a change in the traditional approach to leadership at all levels of an organisation, so that those closest to problems (staff and patients) can devise the best solutions and implement them.
- Doing quality improvement at scale requires an appropriate organisational infrastructure, both to support frontline teams and to ensure that learning spreads and is taken up across the organisation.
- Tools and approaches used in the acute hospital sector can be adapted for use in mental health care, including in community settings.
- Success is most likely when there is fidelity to the chosen improvement method, and a sustained commitment over time.
- The strong emphasis on co-production and service user involvement in mental health can be harnessed as a powerful asset in quality improvement work.