Quality Improvement

 “within general practice, there is a need for culture, structure, skills and processes
of care to be more fully aligned with a vision of putting patients first and pursuing excellent care.”
Quality improvement in  general practice, Kings Fund 2010.
Listen to Dr Nick Goodwin talking about the main findings of this discussion paper (12 minutes).


Quality Improvement (QI) is a commitment to continuously improving the quality of healthcare by focusing on the preferences and needs of the people who use the services. It is an evidence-based approach that helps primary care free up time to deliver initiatives and embed new approaches more effectively and efficiently into practice. QI helps GPs to make the most of their systems, organisations, talents and expertise to deliver better outcomes for patients.  (Royal College of General Practitioners)

An Introduction to Quality Improvement in General Practice (NHS England) provides a simple, practical framework to follow for practice-based quality improvement, improvement activities for practices to try out, and additional support to those practices who have little experience of undertaking quality improvement activities.

A NESTA report examinies where, when and which GP practices across England have taken-up promising innovations.
Which doctors take up promising ideas? New insights from open data. NESTA 2014

Here are some of the QI tools and learning resources available to you:

Directories/collections of resources

HEE Wessex School of Quality Improvement

  • Established in 2014 the Wessex School of  Quality Improvement was designed to bring together, make visible and co-ordinate the current range of initiatives within all portfolios of HEE Wessex. See the collection of  QI resources.

Wessex AHSN Patient Safety Quality Improvement Hub (QIHub)

Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) QI programme

  • The RCGP Quality Improvement Guide for General Practice is available as a booklet or ‘one pagers’ on key tools. The aim is to make the principles and tools of quality
    improvement as accessible as possible for GPs and their practices teams.
  • QI Ready is a free resource for all practices and has been developed to support GPs and practice teams with QI activities in practices. It is your starting place for all QI tools, guidance and case studies.
  • As of 1 April 2019, the Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) in England includes modules based around quality improvement (QI) on prescribing safety and on end of life care. The QOF QI hub on QI Ready contains useful practical resources and case studies which provide examples of how practices could approach their quality improvement activity.

Royal College of Physicians Quality Improvement (QI) Hub 

  • The RCP QI Hub brings together existing quality improvement work within the RCP, as well as developing new infrastructure and approaches, to support and promote a continuously improving healthcare system. It includes quality improvement resources created by the RCP and other key organisation,  healthcare data for quality improvement,  as well as elearning and education.

IHI Open School

  • The IHI Open School provides students of medicine, nursing, public health, pharmacy, health administration, dentistry, and other allied health professions with the opportunity to learn about quality improvement and patient safety. In addition to subscription based online courses, the IHI Open School offers a collection of free resources — improvement stories, videos, publications, tools, audio clips, activities, and links to other websites we recommend.
  • The model of improvement – A simple, yet powerful tool for accelerating improvement. Explains the fundamentals of the Model for Improvement and testing changes on a small scale using PDSA cycles – Plan-Do-Study-Act.
  • Science of Improvement on a Whiteboard!  – A series of videos by Robert Lloyd, the Director of Performance Improvement at IHI, dissecting the science of improvement, including the Model for Improvement, the PDSA cycles and run charts. Click, sit back, and enjoy the learning!

Health Foundation

  • Quality improvement made simple is a good primer which introduces common approaches to quality improvement – background, underlying principles and their efficacy and applicability within healthcare

The NHS Milton Keynes Quality Improvement Model

  • NHS Milton Keynes Quality Improvement Model provides a practical approach to achieving service improvement, working through 4 stages – from the Foundation for change, Investigation, Prepare and deliver the plan, to Check and Adjust.  Some useful tools such as a simple A3 planning template to help manage projects. Created by HEFT Consulting, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

Safer Healthcare: Strategies for the Real World by Charles Vincent and René Amalberti (download  the free ebook) includes a compendium of safety strategies and interventions for managing risk in the complex and adverse daily working conditions of healthcare – “in the real world”. Chapter 9 looks at safety strategies in primary care.

If you are looking for QI tools try the NHS Education for Scotland Quality Improvement Zone library of QI tools.

eLearning resources

Improvement Fundamentals (NHS England)

  • Improvement Fundamentals is a programme of free, bite-sized Quality Improvement training programme from NHS England’s Sustainable Improvements Team covering the principles of quality improvement in health and care. The courses are free to take part in, and are delivered entirely online in the form of videos, articles, discussion and practical exercises that contribute to your own improvement project. Find out the next starting date here or join the discussion on Twitter using @QIFUNdamentals

 Bronze Quality Improvement training packages

  • The Improvement Academy has developed on-line entry Bronze level training. The training is FREE and available for ALL healthcare providers and commissioners.
  • A Bronze Level QI Foundation Course for healthcare staff and patient/carer partners across Wessex can be accessed via the Wessex AHSN.

HQIP elearning resources

The CPD Zone is brought to you by the GP schools of Health Education England working across Thames Valley and Wessex, in association with Oxford Health FT Library.​

Page last reviewed: 30 April, 2021