Launching our new strategy: why safety is our priority by Prof John Boulton, Director Improvement Cymru /National Director of NHS Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

All of us at Improvement Cymru are excited to launch our new strategy ‘Achieving Quality and Safety Improvement’. It outlines how we will work together with the health and care system in Wales to ensure everyone has access to safe, effective and efficient care – in the right place and at the right time.

Much has changed since our relaunch as Improvement Cymru in November 2019. COVID-19 has had huge implications on the health and care system. In the last 20 or so months we all coalesced around one problem, reducing harm from COVID-19.  And in that time the NHS has demonstrated its ability to change rapidly.

Now, whilst the pandemic isn’t over there is an increasing focus on how we continue to provide health and care in a safe, effective and efficient manner. This is clearly not without challenge. We need to consider harm in a broader context, such as acute deterioration, falls, pressure ulcers and medicines safety. As well as considering these harms across the entire pathway, from people’s homes onwards into secondary care and beyond.

With this in mind, we’ve taken some time to review our approach to how we support safer care. Healthcare provision is complex. It isn’t a one size fits all approach. We need to work with leaders to provide a more tailored approach to supporting safety within organisations. To achieve this we are launching our one new holistic programme for the health and care system in Wales. This programme is called ‘Safe Care Together’.

Safe Care Together will support organisations to improve the quality and safety of care across their systems to embed the Health and Social Care Act (2020). We will provide the support that organisations need by co-designing our work with them. It is our nationally coordinated, locally delivered programme of work and is open to all health boards and trusts to join.

We will work collaboratively with organisations to build on their existing work and provide expertise, local support and networking. We’re offering support from our all-Wales improvement team to help to understand, manage and overcome improvement challenges. A team you can rely on to develop, coach and guide, working in partnership to provide better care for the people of Wales.

This will include tailored coaching support for senior leaders, managers and frontline staff to address their quality and safety challenges. To ensure that improvements are sustained we will work across all levels in organisations to focus on the whole quality cycle – from planning to improvement and control.

Our new way of working will also enable organisations to improve quality and safety, as defined by their service users, families, carers and workforce, and engage them closely. Together we can achieve improved outcomes in key safety areas.

I’m proud of our team and the work we do. We have several functions that work together to deliver our strategy, including our academy, Q Lab Cymru, and our nationally commissioned programmes.

As you can see, we have a lot we want to achieve over the next five years and we look forward to working with organisations across Wales to form a part of a wider Improvement Community to create the best quality health and care system for everyone.

Please take the time to read our strategy or summary and share your thoughts with us on our new programme by emailing