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Scotland Deanery

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Quality Improvement

Quality Improvement for SAS Doctors and Dentists


What benefits does Quality Improvement offer?

For Patients:

  • Improve patient care by improving the quality and safety of care, access to care, patient experience

For the NHS:

  • Improve quality and efficiency of care
  • Potentially save money by improving service

For the SAS doctor/dentist:

  • Develop skills in leadership
  • Work as part of a successful team
  • Improve care for your patients which could in turn improve job satisfaction
  • Posters/presentations
  • Looks good on the CV

Choosing a project

Start small and simple – use a PDSA cycle to guide you (more of that later)

Choose a common procedure – faster data collection, quicker results 

A problem that affects you, your patients and your team (more likely to have cooperation from colleagues if they can easily see the value)

Something that matters to you (you will be more motivated to continue with it)

How to start

  1. Agree an aim – what are you focusing on and what do you want to change
  2. Clear change method – make sure that everyone understands the methods to be used
  3. Measure - how will you know that a change will be an improvement?
  4. Plan how to carry out the project – who will do what and when
  5. Plan for data collection – make sure that EVERYONE involved knows how and when to do this
  6. Think about how you will share your results – local meetings/posters/team meetings/publications?

Connect with your local QI department

Most hospitals will have their own QI department. They will usually help you to create forms/analyse date/refine your idea. Contact them at the outset – it could save you a lot of time and effort!

Suggested Ideas & Themes for Projects

  • Reduce waste/avoid harm/improve consistency
  • Improve patient safety or experience
  • Assess outcomes against agreed standard and look for improvement measures
  • Compliance with guidelines e.g IRMER


Examples of Completed Projects

Audit of appropriate use of outpatient department appointments for routine biopsy results


To avoid all unnecessary review appointments following routine biopsy investigations


To determine how many patients were discharged following biopsy

To determine how many unnecessary return review appointments were booked

To investigate the potential for a telephone review clinic




A retrospective audit examining outpatient clinics cancelled due to COVID-19 was carried out. The total number of appointments was recorded for each clinic. Patient’s notes were examined to determine their outcome following telephone biopsy results. The number of discharged patients was recorded for each clinic


  • 28% of scheduled return routine appointments were not required
  • 15% of all scheduled appointments not required




The introduction of a Core Trainee led telephone follow up clinic to delivery biopsy results for patients to be discharged.





The Introduction of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist to Outpatient Sedation in an Outpatient Surgery Unit, An Improvement Project.


To ensure 100% compliance with the modified WHO Surgical Safety Checklist in operating lists in the outpatient department (OD)

  • Modified paperwork and documentation to include modified checklist
    • Brief and debrief templates
    • Staff engagement, education and training

Outcome or Action Plan
A working group was created with representation from the whole team. Quality Improvement (QI) methodology was utilised and the WHO checklist was reviewed, tested and modified for suitability. An introductory session was held and included staff training. The percentage of lists using the modified checklist in the OD was measured. Only lists where the checklist was used for all patients are recorded as positive. Run charts were used to display improvements to the hospital. As per the NPSA and the SDCEP sedation guidance document a log of adverse events, outcomes or never events was instated.




This page was last updated on: 09.09.2020 at 11.11