HealthcarePapers 17(1) July 2017 : 49-55.doi:10.12927/hcpap.2017.25333

Quality Improvement: Lessons from the English National Health Services

Suzie Bailey and Helen Bevan


Based on our own experiences leading healthcare improvement in the English National Health Service (NHS), we identify seven themes that connect with the story of front-line ownership (FLO):

  1. Create investors not buyers of change – "buy-in" is too late in the change process.
  2. We need to combine both technical and cultural aspects of change – go slow to go fast and make sure that we pay attention to the human dimensions of change.
  3. Build strong ties AND weak ties – reach out to your usual suspects AND find your unusual suspects and unlikely allies.
  4. If we want innovation, we need to create psychological safety – the conditions of trust and support that make people feel safe to try new things that might fail.
  5. Build energy for change for the long haul, right from the start of your change efforts – go beyond the typical "intellectual" energy and build "social" and "spiritual" energy that create strong foundations for change.
  6. Challenge "the myth of the disinterested" – everyone is passionate about something.
  7. The leader as coach and team member – be the leadership role model that enables change.



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