Part 02: Introduction
Welcome to the third Annual Report of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorate's Quality and Efficiency Support Team (QuEST).
Over the last five years, NHS Boards in Scotland have successfully delivered £1.5bn of savings through increasing efficiency and productivity and reducing waste and duplication. Many of the innovative ways in which they have done this appear in QuEST's Annual Reports as they are supported by one of our ten thematic programmes. The 36 case studies in this report bring our grand total across the three years of QuEST's formal reporting to over 120. As always, all of these case studies are worthy of consideration; as a minimum, we recommend that Boards consider them in the context of what they are doing, adopt where appropriate and/or utilise them to identify areas for focused activity.
A further highlight of this year was the publication of our 2020 Framework for Quality, Efficiency and Value. Cutting through the often somewhat 'fuzzy' rhetoric around the Quality Improvement (QI) agenda, QuEST simplified what we know about approaches to QI, identified the steps on the critical pathway and outlined a number of key tools and techniques that anyone can use. Backed up with the 'real' examples in the case studies, this framework gives NHS Boards - and their partners - a firm foundation upon which to build their QI infrastructure development and activity.
So what next for QuEST?
Our website (http://www.qihub.scot.nhs.uk/quality-and-efficiency.aspx) will continue to be updated with relevant case studies, tools, tips and techniques as and when they become available. But, more importantly, we are moving into a new and exciting phase of activity across NHSScotland.
We firmly believe we now have a major repository of good practice; that evidence from NHS Boards is supplemented by work directly delivered by QuEST such as the Whole System Patient Flow programme and our Facilities projects. Where there is overwhelming evidence that there are clear improvements in outcomes as well as reductions in cost and/or increases in efficiency, there should be a 'presumption of adoption' unless there is clear evidence of a locally-implemented solution that has better outcomes, savings etc. Such good practice will be supported by a new national programme that will seek to help Boards and their partners benefit from this wealth of material. In addition to this, there will be further work to deliver accelerated outcomes in shared services. QuEST will be central to the success of this refreshed programme.
QuEST is staffed by highly-skilled individuals, many of whom are on fixed-term contracts, secondments or Service Level Agreements from NHS Boards or partners, supported by civil servants. This unique approach ensures we remain very close to healthcare services while ensuring implementation of Scottish Government policy. Everyone in QuEST is committed to continuous quality improvement in public services and the results of this commitment are clearly highlighted by the range of achievements to date.
We look forward with anticipation to our next challenges.
Linda Semple, Head of QuEST