My Final Thoughts as Chair

Tomorrow we (National Quality Improvement (Incl. Clinical Audit) Network – (N-QI-CAN)) will vote on a new chair as I have now reached the end of my third and final term.

I am very proud to have been the N-QI-CAN chair since the end of 2015 and I now look back on my time with a great sense of achievement.

A lot has happened during this time both across our networks, the NHS and the world. I would like to share some of our achievements and learning during my time as chair in my final blog.

Back to the start

One of the first things we introduced during my time as chair was an infographic style annual report to help us get our message out across our network members and beyond. Previous annual reports had had very small number of views on our website or impact so it was great to see the new style report receive good feedback and significantly higher views / reach with our members.

Looking back at my first chairs message is the first annual report (above) – I feel like we have delivered these priorities and our forum has been a key part of this especially breaking down regional boundaries to connect colleagues and share. Next week is the Forums 4th birthday and we will be celebrating this whilst asking our nearly 1000 members for feedback on proposed changes for improvements.

We will be publishing our latest bi-annual report shortly which will share more detail around our achievements – as there are too many to mention in this blog! 🙂

The Pandemic

Without doubt when I think back to my time as chair – I will remember the pandemic and the difficulties it presented to us as individuals and our networks – not to mention the impact it had on the world, our lives and everything it brought with it. As it moves to an endemic – I am very proud to look back at our ‘can-do’ attitude and desire across our networks to continue to support each other and thrive supported by virtual technologies / meetings during these extremely difficult times . I feel the pandemic has made us all stronger, resilient and more open to change and this will help us going forward both within the NHS, our networks and in life in general.

Our Forward Plan and New Governance

Two years ago I almost didn’t stand for chair again because the infrastructure around our networks was no longer working and had become unsustainable relying 2 days a week protected time and a lot of good will. Our networks and chairs role had developed beyond our meetings and speaking at national conferences to something much more due to the success of our networks and our profile. However I believed that a sustainable structure could be developed so I put my name forward on the promise that NHSEI and HQIP and our network chairs / officers / members would work together to achieve this.

Nearly two years later (most of which was during the pandemic) – we have achieved this as we now have a new common purpose, forward plan based around key drivers to deliver our CP and new governance. In addition we now have protected time for our General Secretary, Comms Lead and our network chairs. This supports and enable us to continue our networking and good foundation for our new chair to take forward and further develop.

Other Highlights include…..

Name change and new logo in 2018 to incorporate clinical audit as part of QI and audit cycle arrows to represent our networks.

Clinical Audit Awareness Week (CAAW) – joint leads for 2019 & 2020 of this important initiative. 2021 moved to spring 2022 (dates to be confirmed)

Talks around the country and beyond and meeting colleagues with shared passion for improvement

Helping support the ‘Plot the dots’ revolution

Advisory roles – to National Quality Board – NCAPOP sub-group, CQ~U~IN, HQIP, NCA retender meetings, Health Foundation, RCP FFFAP

Blogs and new N-QI-CAN website

Share a success competition

Setting up a Youtube channel to share our events

My time as Chair in Numbers

Challenges going forward

Despite our successes Clinical Audit still remains the ‘black sheep of the QI world’ – only two weeks ago it was omitted from the excellent Improvement Method Olympics*. In addition to this unfortunately some of our colleagues feel undervalued and have felt pushed aside by different forms of QI. However – better times are ahead as I believe recommendations from a current NHSEI Clinical Audit for Improvement T&F that I have been honored to have been involved with will really help. I also feel that this report will help address the well documented shortfalls in National (and local) Clinical Audit so that we work together as one system to take forward these projects to help drive further improvements to patient care.

Thank you

To end I would like to thank various people for their support over the last 3 terms. #Firstly I would like to thank my family (in particular my wife and daughter who are my world), my Trust – University Hospitals of Leicester and my clinical audit team for supporting me to do the role. N-QI-CAN General Secretaries Sarah Chessell and Sue Venables, Comms Leads Julie Hancocks and Rebecca Shepard, whos support has been invaluable along with current and previous Regional Network chairs. NHSEI Richard Arnold and HQIP colleagues for funding, guidance and peer challenge.

Last of all thanks to all our network members that have taken time out from busy day jobs to share, network and learn from each other. Your shared passion for clinical audit and improving patient care has helped me keep focused and driven.

I look forward to continue to be part of our networks going forward and supporting our new chair.

Many thanks

Carl Walker
Carl Walker

National Quality Improvement (incl. Clinical Audit) Network Chair

*Pleased to report that it will be included in Paris 2024 after input and challenges from the clinical audit community.

Post meeting update: Pleased to announce that we have elected Victoria Patel as the new chair of N-QI-CAN  – starting 1st October. Vicky is our current YEARN chair. To find out more about our new chair please see Vicky’s expression of interest.

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