Quality Improvement (QI) is not new, but it is not commonplace in Musculoskeletal (MSK) or community services.

Ahead of the forthcoming webinar showcasing our Quality Improvement (QI) journey here at Connect Health, being hosted by Evidence4QI, Andrew Cuff (Head of MSK, Connect Health) shares some thoughts on the value of QI

9 November 2022

This webinar was held between 11.30-12.30 on Wednesday 23 November 2022. To find out more please click this link here Spotlight on… QI @ Connect Health | Q Community

This Evidence4QI webinar took place on 23 November 2022. A showcase of the Quality Improvement story of Connect Health, presented by Andrew Cuff, Consultant Physiotherapist & Head of MSK at Connect Health and Honorary Associate Professor. In this webinar, Andrew shared the story of how Connect Health implemented a strategic QI group across a national provider organisation. This is the second of a series of ‘Spotlight on…’ sessions hosted by the Evidence 4 Quality Improvement (E4QI) team. Each session will feature a different organisation or team showcasing QI work that they are doing. The focus of these sessions is on the QI approach being taken, and QI activity at an organisational level rather than focussing on specific projects. This is a fantastic opportunity to share, learn and be inspired by your NHS QI colleagues and build on each other’s ideas.


Quality Improvement (QI) is not new, but it is not commonplace in Musculoskeletal (MSK) or community services. This is my third blog on the topics of leadership, change and innovation. QI has been defined in its most wide-reaching sense as improving the quality-of-care that patients experience. More tangibly, it is the combined and increasing efforts of everyone to make the changes that will lead to better patient outcomes, system performance, and professional development (Batalden and Davidoff, 2007).

The value that QI brings is obvious: safer services, better patient experience, better patient outcomes.

That value, however, can only be realised if we are aware, familiar, possess the necessary skills, and have opportunity to put these skills into practice. Early in 2020, the Clinical Delivery directorate at Connect Health took the decision to introduce and embed QI into our nomenclature. This involved the creation of a group with strategic oversight (our QIPP group) with relevant stakeholders across the business. A strategy was developed through specific training and enabled through the Connect Health Academy with the plan to produce shared, service-level objectives for 2020-21.

These objectives focused on the identification of a problem or area for improvement, to move quickly and iteratively with application of a chosen QI methodology to address that problem, deliver that improvement, and share the learning across the organisation.

A culmination of that work over 2020-21 was brought together in a QI showcase. Taking the format of a ‘Rapid 5’, each service Clinical Lead and Operational Manager presented their work and with members of the Exec and SMT present, opened to the floor for questions. The aim of this showcase was not only to share the excellent work that had been completed, or the route to improvement across services, but to also develop capability in presenting succinctly, justify decision making, and hone reflection on areas for development for future improvement projects.

The standards of the projects presented was very high with prizes awarded to the top three:

– Hammersmith and Fulham:

– Croydon:



Each of these services were supported to submit their project to Physiotherapy UK 2021 with their conference attendence paid for by Connect Health and time blocked in order to attend.

Following this success, we reflected on ways to improve and repeated the process for 2021-22. A few weeks ago, we had the 2021-22 QI Showcase following the same format, where the standard of work presented has increased even further. With a judging panel consisting of Mike Turner (CEO) and Jane Gilbert (Non-Executive Director) the competition for the top spots was highly contended. The top three for 2021-22 were:

– Hammersmith and Fulham (two in two!)

– Merton

– Wolverhampton


These services will now identify an appropriate conference to submit their work to so that the improvement seen isn’t only shared within Connect, but also externally to aid improvement across the healthcare system.

At the QI showcase, the Hammersmith and Fulham MSK service presented their work looking at three separate improvement projects: referral optimisation into hospital-based rheumatology; writing to patients using lay language and minimal abbreviations; and enhancing values-based goal setting across the service.

Kat Netherton, Clinical Lead (Hammersmith and Fulham) said:

In Hammersmith & Fulham we have worked hard to implement several quality improvement projects over the last few years. Our clinicians and managers understand the benefit and importance of continual service development to improve the care we provide to our local population. All members of the team are encouraged to be involved. We listen to feedback from patients using this to support service improvement as well as involving patients to co-produce the work that we do.


Another service showcasing their QI project was the Brent MSK service who presented their work looking at improving the integration between rehabilitation and health promotion.

Dan Townsend, Clinical Lead (Brent) said:

Within the Brent MSK service we try to be responsive and person-centred. By utilising the methods and tools of QI projects to deliver improved outcomes, we believe our patients become more equal partners in their care.

The recent Quality improvement project conducted within our service has acknowledged the complex health inequalities within the local population, and the role exercise and education have on providing meaningful long-term solutions to improving health and wellbeing. We have managed to integrate the principles of exercise within patient classes, tackling sensitive health issues and generating solutions for long term change.

Being able to watch a patients journey from exercise novice, to developing their own rehabilitation plans within a few sessions is very rewarding. Patients can really start to understand the impact exercise has on other areas of their health.


Mike Turner, CEO, Connect Health added:

Connect Health Group has made significant progress in closing the gap between research and clinical practice and QI is continuing to deliver very positive outcomes. There is no better measure for this than the impact on patients, so I would like to commend the service management and clinical teams for their tenacity and determination to constantly improve.


To learn more about our QI journey, how we started, mistakes we made, successes we shared, and learning we have gone through, then please do attend the webinar being hosted by Evidence4QI. This webinar was held between 11.30-12.30 on Wednesday 23rd November 2022.



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