Innovative multi-NHS trust coaching programme wins top healthcare award

An innovative programme that trains NHS staff to use a systemic coaching approach to improve care pathways, has been recognised at the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) awards.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust joined Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the NHS in Northern Ireland in collecting the award for Innovation in Quality Improvement Team for their work on the Flow Coaching Academy (FCA).

The Trust was one of the early adopters of the FCA approach which was developed by Sheffield Teaching Hospital. It involves a group of around 30 staff receiving specialist quality improvement training to become coaches. Each pair of coaches, one clinical one non-clinical, then sets up a ‘Big Room’ in their specialty bringing together staff from across the care pathway to assess, develop and improve models of care.

The Trust was recognised for improvements it has made to vascular surgery which has seen an 80 per cent increase in the number of patients being discharged once they no longer need hospital care, thanks to changes introduced through the Big Room.

Ganan Sritharan, consultant geriatrician at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, who leads the vascular Big Room alongside Lara Ritchie, improvement partner, said:

“I am really pleased to have been part of multi-trust team that won this award. The Flow Coaching Academy and Big Rooms approach has been adopted right across our Trust and is making a huge difference to the way staff interact with each other and the care we provide to our patients.” 

Tom Downes, consultant geriatrician at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and clinical lead of the Flow Coaching Academy programme, said: “The Flow Coaching Academy grew out of the success of two pieces of work in Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to redesign geriatric care and respiratory care. This award is fantastic recognition of how incredibly successful the ‘Big Room’ approach has been in helping clinicians and frontline NHS staff across the UK make changes to improve patient care.”

The Big Rooms approach was taken from an initiative used by car manufacturer Toyota where everyone involved in developing a new car was brought together to share the complexity of the prototyping process. There are now nine Big Rooms running at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust – with more due to start – in areas including young people, acute respiratory patient, antenatal, sepsis and mental health in the emergency department.