Working to shape a programme of support for the NHS

Dr Janet Williamson, Director of National Improvement Programmes, explains how NHS Improving Quality is working alongside the NHS Services, Seven Days A Week Forum:

NHS Improving Quality is building on the work of one of its legacy bodies, NHS Improvement, to support NHS England’s NHS Services, Seven Days a Week Forum build the evidence in preparation for the release of key findings in the Autumn.

NHS Improving Quality established in April 2013 is the single go-to organisation leading improvement and systematic change to improve health outcomes across England.  It will offer to the NHS a unique combination of up to a five year programme of large scale change expertise alongside capability building to grow people, knowledge and science in the quest to move the whole health care system to seven day models.

We know that across England there are pockets of good 24/7 services happening in practice.  Our ambition is to move from these islands to whole system transformation.  We will support the system to spread effective models which exist today but are also looking for providers who want to engage with us to test out new models for the future.  Funded improvement support will be available for this.

Building the evidence and our knowledge base ready for the Autumn:  Not only will the evidence tell us what is happening across England, be supported by practical case studies featuring providers who are successfully moving towards a seven day service model but will also signpost the start of practical support for the NHS which will help commissioners and providers make change happen.

Examples will include:

  • Baseline service improvement tools which will enable providers to baseline their services against the latest models and have access to the latest tools and techniques in service improvement.
  • Dedicated Improvement expertise working at trust and provider level to help organisations review current services and test out new ideas.
  • A programme of regional patient and public engagement events.
  • Learning and sharing forums to ensure that we connect great practice, learn from others and share successes to benefit the NHS.
  • A programme of capability building for CCGs.
  • Interactive website where the latest can be viewed and seen..

Importantly the evidence will build on what patients, carers, users told us at the NHS Services, Seven Days a week Learning Exchange run by NHS Improving Quality in conjunction with NHS England (20 August 2013, London).

The key messages were that they wanted to see integrated and coordinated pathways of care, accessible when they need it, with real time access to their medical notes, across primary and secondary care, with GPs and social care involved.  Patients also spoke of a degree of practical realism saying do well what you do Monday to Friday and don’t take your eye off the ball.

NHS Improving Quality Seven day services programme sets out a commitment to support NHS England to see 7-Day Services happen in practice.

NHS Improving Quality would welcome your views on this subject, your ideas on spreading improvement and interested organisations who would like to engage in this work.  Contact us or

Dr Janet Williamson

Dr Janet Williamson is Director of National Improvement Programmes for NHS Improving Quality. NHS Improving Quality brings together the improvement expertise for healthcare, working on large scale change and is part of NHS England, Medical Directorate. Janet works closely with policy leaders, Department of Health, public health England, National Clinical Directors for NHS England, clinical networks, commissioning, and providers of healthcare services.

With over 25 years’ experience of managing both clinical and non-clinical services across the NHS, Janet has also been involved in and led a number of large improvement programmes, including total quality management, business process re-engineering and the Cancer Services Collaborative ‘Improvement Partnership’, which was instrumental in reducing GP referral to cancer treatment waiting times from nine months to two.

Between 2007 and 2013, Janet was National Director, NHS Improvement, a national team renowned for its experience and expertise in practical service improvement which has redesigned clinical pathways in cancer, diagnostics, heart, lung and stroke. It demonstrates some of the most leading edge work in England, helping to improve patient experience and outcomes. Much of its work provides the foundation for NHS Improving Quality.

In 2012, NHS Improvement under Janet’s leadership, was officially recognised as one of The Sunday Times 100 best places to work in the not for profit sector.

In 2007, she was awarded a professional Doctorate, identifying critical factors for spreading whole system change in healthcare. This drew on over four years of learning from change in cancer at a national, network and local team level.