Designing and implementing a trust-wide quality assurance programme.
Derbyshire Community Health Services (DCHS) NHS Foundation Trust provides a wide range of community-based health services. After the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found gaps in the trust's assurance process, its board decided to develop a method of continuous quality improvements that could be used as a basis for the trust's quality assurance system. The trust adapted and built on an acute model so it was suitable for community services. The final assurance system, Quality Always, has four elements: the clinical assessment and accreditation scheme; leadership development; 'champions' within clinical teams to support and promote the scheme; and dashboards to record and monitor progress. A system to recognise and reward achievement was essential for success. Quality Always has resulted in better care quality, an improved CQC rating, a sense of achievement among staff, the development of support networks, learning (especially among support staff) and good practice being shared.