Improvement Leader Fellowship

Improvement Leader Fellowship

Published Date: 8 Oct 2018

The year-long Improvement Leader Fellowship (ILF), which is part of the CLAHRC NWL academic training programme, develops promising leaders from all backgrounds (including researchers, patients and healthcare professionals) to implement applied health research and make improvements in care within the NHS and beyond. This innovative, collaborative programme has been successful in surpassing our target of 100 fellows as outlined in the CLAHRC application and have supported 108 fellows (including 17 patients) to date (13 in 2017/18), with a further 14 (cohort 10) appointed in 2018/19. 

The ILF has had impact at individual, organisational and system level. Individuals have developed the knowledge, skills and behaviours to lead improvements. For example, Ms Jayacodi joined the Improvement Leader Fellowship in 2016 during a period of unemployment caused by her mental ill health. Ms Jayacodi’s fellowship project focussed on improving the physical health of mental health in-patients by producing a patient information booklet which has been implemented at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust. Ms Jayacodi has since developed a national and international profile - recent activities include advising the Malaysian and Singaporean governments on patient involvement and presenting her story at the House of Lords cross-CLAHRC event. At an organisational level, Barts Health (a large multi-site trust) commissioned the ILF to improve adult and paediatric emergency care flow and patient experience. At a system level, the fellowship alumni network (108 fellows) is developing as a community of practice across Northwest London.

The innovative curriculum, based on a collaborative learning pedagogy, includes Systematic Approach to Quality Improvement (QI), self development leadership practice and peer to peer learning to support Fellows to deliver a practical improvement project in their local settings. 

Contribution of CLAHRC North West London

CLAHRC NWL created, designed and delivers the Improvement Leader Fellowship. The innovative curriculum, based on a collaborative learning pedagogy, includes Systematic Approach to Quality Improvement (QI), self development leadership practice and peer to peer learning to support Fellows to deliver a practical improvement project in their local settings. The inclusion of patients in the ILF is a unique feature of the programme and CLAHRC NWL's research indicates this is an effective mechanism to build capacity for improvement (Myron et al 2017). Recent international visits include the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Dartmouth Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre, USA and Qulturum Jonkoping Sweden.  

What happened next?

In 2018, a further four fellowships have been commissioned and spread outside of NWL (one at Barts, three at Greenwich and Lewisham - £210K) increasing fellows to over 150 with interest from NHS partners and Royal Colleges. 108 alumni fellows continue to disseminate best-practice (13 papers since 2014) with many promoted and continuing QI work. Four fellows were named in the inaugural HSJ top 50 Patient Leaders (June 2015), recognising outstanding individuals whose personal experiences have led to instigate change and as a result are shaping healthcare.