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Demand, Capacity and Flow QI Collaborative: Royal College of Psychiatrists

The NELFT Quality Improvement Services were excited to attend the launch event of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Demand, Capacity and Flow QI Collaborative on the 27th January 2023. 

We will be sharing about our experience on this collaborative throughout the 18 month period here: Royal College of Psychiatrists: Demand, Capacity & Flow Collaborative | NELFT NHS Foundation Trust


About the collaborative & NELFTs participation: 

Four teams from NELFT (Havering Mental Health and Wellness, Havering Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Adult Autism Service, and Waltham Forest Single Point of Access) will be taking part in this 18-month mental health services collaborative programme, each with the support of a member of the Quality Improvement Services to provide additional bespoke support alongside the Quality Improvement Coaches provided by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. 

The collaborative aims to: 

  • "to support community and inpatient teams within mental health services to understand demand, develop and test change ideas to improve flow, reduce waiting lists and manage demand in creative ways. 

  • provide opportunities for peer-to-peer sharing and learning through regular in-person events." 


Launch Day: 

The launch of the collaborative was held at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London on Friday 27th January 2023. The day started with welcomes, introductions, and a fun ice-breaker game to help all teams within the collaborative get to know one another. This was followed by an engaging team game about demand, capacity and flow using toy soldiers and dice to move through a fictional patient pathway. After this we heard a brilliant presentation from an East London Foundation Trust service who had completed a similar project on demand, capacity, and flow, and had improved access to their Hackney Learning Disability Service. This allowed us to learn from previous experiences and celebrate success, motivating us on the start of our collaborative journey. Finally, each team, took the first step at trying to understand our service's challenges and understand the problems that impact on the service user pathway by starting a high-level process mapping activity. This activity focussed on looking at the pathway from referral to discharge and looking what happens at each of these stages. 

It is of course important at any learning event to reflect on what additional learnings you are taking away that aren't directly addressed on the day. For example, an essential element of launching and beginning a quality improvement project is to establish the project team. A quality improvement project is not owned by the project lead but is instead a team project in which all stakeholders need to be involved in some way. In terms of the collaborative, each team has a project lead, but could also bring along members of their team to learn from each learning event. Therefore, a question we addressed and explored on the launch day was around how to develop a project team, and which stakeholders need to be involved in which conversations and reflect on whether there were any additional stakeholders that might benefit being present at the next learning day to truly reflect the full scope of the project. 


Next steps: 

The launch day left the teams feeling ready to embrace this opportunity to improve the outcomes of their services. The next step will be to meet with their nominated Quality Improvement Coach from the Royal College of Psychiatry, as well as their team member from NELFT Quality Improvement Services. At this meeting the plan is to produce a more detailed process map of one of the areas along the patient pathway. 


How can your team learn from this? 

Demand, capacity, and flow are issues that many teams across NELFT and the wider NHS are currently facing. As such, we want to ensure that as many teams possible are able to learn from this collaborative. We will be documenting our experiences and learnings through the 18 month period and sharing this online here: https://www.nelft.nhs.uk/qis-projects 

To find out more about the collaborative click here: Demand, Capacity and Flow QI Collaborative | Royal College of Psychiatrists (rcpsych.ac.uk) 

For tools and resources around setting up your own quality improvement project click here: Support/Resources | NELFT NHS Foundation Trust 

For bespoke support on issues you and your team might be facing please contact the Quality Improvement Services directly by emailing qi@nelft.nhs.uk  

Follow the progress of the collaborative on the NELFT Quality Improvement Services X account: NELFT Quality Improvement Services (@nelftqis) / X or search #DFCQI  

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