Building capability for improvement

In light of the current situation with COVID-19, all Time for Care programme workshops are being paused for the time being, which includes pausing the application process for cohorts of the General Practice Improvement Leads programme due to start in late April/early May.  These cohorts will therefore not start as planned and there is no indication at present when this might change.  An update will be posted when the situation changes.

General Practice Improvement Leads programme

Having clinicians and managers with quality improvement skills is key to successful change. Free places are provided on the General Practice Improvement Leads programme from our Time for Care team. This is a successful personal development programme with small cohorts of up to 35 people to build confidence and skills for leading service redesign in your practice or federation.

The programme incorporates interactive training workshops, personal reading and reflection, and action learning as participants lead a change project in their own workplace. Participants gain new perspectives, skills and confidence in using improvement science in general practice, and leading colleagues and teams through change. The approach has been successful with general practice clinicians and managers of widely varying experience, from those new in post to very experienced staff.

You can learn about what impact the programme has made by viewing case studies from past participants.

Who is it for?

The programme is for those working in general practice including GPs, practice managers, nurses, reception managers, senior administrators. Delegates will need to bring a small scale improvement idea/challenge to work actively on during the programme. Please see the guidance below before applying.

What are the benefits?

  • Personal development: how to deliver change and engage people in the process.
  • Building local capability: applying new skills and knowledge to lead successful improvements and change in individual practice and in developments that involve wider partnerships in the local area.
  • Accelerating change locally by working on a chosen improvement project focused around one of the 10 High Impact Actions to release time in general practice.
  • Learning alongside others from general practice and becoming part of a wider primary care improvers’ network.

What does it look like?

A modular programme of six days in total, completed over three to four months. Each module builds personal learning and the ability to help others use quality improvement techniques.

  • Module 1: Fundamentals of change and improvement (2 days). The key components needed for successful change and practical tools and techniques for making improvements, including developing a meaningful aim, measurement for improvement, identifying opportunities for improvement, and generating, prioritising and testing ideas. Delegates will have the opportunity to apply learning to their own improvement idea.
  • Module 2: Human dimensions of change (2 days). Motivating and mobilising others, working together to make changes. Part of this module will include understanding the values and motivations of ourselves and others, as well as helping building effective relationships; how to communicate well in conflict.
  • Module 3: Facilitation and presentation skills (2 days). Approaches to use when working with groups including building confidence in presenting, group dynamics and common facilitation scenarios, where interventions are needed to achieve a successful outcome from group work. Creative thinking techniques will help delegates move improvement projects on when they have become ‘stuck’ and understand the different types of feedback and tips that can be used to help provide effective feedback.

No prior knowledge of managing change or quality improvement is needed to join the programme. Certificates will be issued to participants on completion of the programme.

Module and webinar dates for 2020/21

Programme cohorts are being offered on a regional basis, with dates for cohorts taking place in 2020/21 below.  These dates are expected to go ahead but are subject to final business plan confirmation for the programme.

Updates will be posted when further information is available (please see message regarding COVID-19 above).

Participants will be expected to:

  • attend all six days – please ensure you can commit to this before applying
  • fully participate in all learning activities on the programme
  • work actively on a chosen small scale, improvement idea/challenge, sharing learning and providing regular updates
  • complete an end of cohort poster summarising progress on your improvement project
  • complete all pre-work and other exercises within the timescales given.

We will provide:

  • delivery/facilitation of the programme modules
  • opportunity to apply learning to your chosen project and share with cohort colleagues
  • programme materials, including slides (available online)
  • access to an online forum for your cohort
  • lunch and light refreshments during each day
  • overnight accommodation (bed and breakfast only) if required for the middle night of each module, booked centrally by our team.

Guidance on completing your application

Please apply individually for your own place on the programme. Preference will be given to those working in general practices.

Please note: if you work directly with general practice your application may be considered and you will be placed on a waiting list. When making your application we will require the following information from you:

  • your chosen improvement idea to work on – please see guidance below
  • what you hope to gain from joining the programme
  • what previous experience you have of quality improvement.

Your improvement project idea

To get the most out of the programme your improvement project idea should:

  • ​focus on a current problem or issue occurring within your practice.
  • be something that you are ready and able to address.
  • be small-scale and specific in order to enable you to practise using the tools at a manageable level.

If your proposed project is a larger ambition (e.g. working at scale) we would expect you to choose a specific aspect of that larger project on which to concentrate your efforts through the programme and demonstrate that clearly in your application.

Some examples that delegates have successfully worked on include document management to free up clinical time, repeat prescribing/dispensing processes, group consultations, care navigation and repeat medication reviews.

Please note that your application may be rejected if your improvement project idea does not fulfill these criteria.

What does it cost?

  • Overnight accommodation (bed and breakfast only) is available if required for the middle night at no cost to delegates.
  • Travel costs are not funded. Delegates will need to arrange and cover the cost of their own travel as needed.

Please note: participant details may be shared across other departments within NHS England which will enable us to contact participants in order to provide them with ongoing information about our work, wider NHS England work and the opportunity to be aligned to local improvement work. Participant contact details will be stored securely in accordance with the principles and requirements of the Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If you do not wish for your details to be shared please email

If you have any questions about the programme please email

Primary Care Network Improvement Leads programme

After an initial pilot in 2019, we are continuing to test a new programme for Primary Care Network (PCN) leads. The programme will bring together those with lead roles in PCNs to learn together and help achieve large scale change across their networks.

Participants must bring an improvement challenge/priority to work on during the programme, for example, reforming a clinical pathway or developing a service across the PCN. This will be required at application.

Who is it for?

Individuals in a formal or informal lead role in a PCN.  This could include GPs, nurses, practice managers and others.

What does it look like?

Coaching in style and practical in approach, the programme is for PCN leads to mobilise and lead teams through change using tried and tested tools and techniques applied to a change priority. Each module builds personal learning and the ability to use quality improvement techniques.  Participants will present their progress and learning at the end of the programme.

The programme comprises of:

  • six full days (three two-day modules) over three to four months
  • support webinars offered in between the modules.

What are the benefits?

The objectives are to help PCN leads working on a chosen change priority.

  • Accelerate improvement at pace and scale using tried and tested tools and techniques.
  • Equip themselves with transferable practical improvement skills for working at scale, to help achieve their improvement goals in a complex environment.
  • Understand the key principles for large scale change and how to apply these to their network’s challenge, helping create transformational change.
  • To be confident in applying quality improvement tools and techniques, demonstrating the ability to lead in improvement for quality and safety locally.

To be considered for a place, participants will need to:

  • have knowledge and experience of using basic quality improvement tools and techniques, evidenced at application
  • commit to attend all workshop days
  • complete all pre-work and other exercises within the timescales given
  • share their learning and present their progress back
  • sign and return the learning agreement.

What does it cost?

  • There is no cost to those attending the programme. You will need to fund and arrange your own travel.  Please note backfill is not provided.
  • Overnight accommodation (bed and breakfast only, booked centrally) is available for the middle night of each module at no cost to the individual.

Module and webinar dates for 2020

The following national cohorts are open to all across England who are eligible. To apply click on “Registration open” below.

Region and location Start dates Module and webinar dates Applications open
Bristol 5 and 6 February 2020 View full cohort dates Registration closed
Leeds 3 and 4 March 2020 View full cohort dates Registration closed

Please apply individually for your own place; you will be asked to give a short description of the priority you intend to work on during the programme.

Quality improvement for senior GP trainees and post CCT fellows

Who is it for?

This two day programme is designed for GP ST3s, ST4s, post CCT fellows and any other recently qualified GPs with an interest in system improvement.

Those nearing the end of training and with evidence of a prior interest in system improvement will be prioritised however, all are welcome to apply.

What are the benefits?

  • Understand more about quality improvement theory.
  • Test out key tools and techniques.
  • Learn how to motivate and engage your colleagues.
  • Connect with your national colleagues.
  • Take time to reflect on your progress to date.
  • Build an action plan for the coming months and years.

What does it look like?

The programme will provide a flexible timetable of support, with training in a wide range of the key quality improvement concepts, tools and techniques, an introduction to large-scale change methodology and some innovative personal development opportunities.  The programme will be shaped depending on the needs of the group, which will be assessed beforehand.  Time will also be built in for you to share your experience and learning from being a change agent in general practice.

Your tutors will be made up of a wide range of GPs, practice managers, other clinicians and improvement experts from across primary care and the wider NHS.

Dates for 2019/20

Programme cohorts are offered on a regional basis.

Region and location Dates Applications open
Midlands – Birmingham 3 and 4 July 2019 Registrations closed
London 10 and 11 July 2019 Registrations closed
East of England – Standsted 16 and 17 October 2019 Registrations closed
South West 27 and 28 November 2019 Registrations closed
Midlands – Derby 22 and 23 January Registrations closed
North West – Manchester 26 and 27 February Registrations closed
North East – Newcastle 18 and 19 March Registrations open
South East – Maidstone 4 and 5 March Registrations open

What does it cost?

The two days will run on consecutive days with accommodation provided for the middle night.  Please note we are unable to reimburse costs for travel expenses and your evening meal.

How to register a place

For information on how to register a place email

Quality improvement for general practice nurses

This two day programme is designed for all nurses working in general practice across England.

What are the benefits?

  • An understanding of quality improvement theory and why we use it.
  • An opportunity to try out quality improvement tools and techniques and apply them to a project of your choice.
  • Reflection and learning with likeminded colleagues from across the country.
  • Increased awareness of the human factors involved in successful change.

What does it look like?

The programme will show you step-by-step how to use a number of tools and techniques, helping to build your skills and confidence to make changes in your practice.  You will need to bring a live project to work on during the programme, something you really want to improve back at your practice.

Your tutors will be experts in training and using quality improvement to make change happen, they are nurses, practice managers, GPs and coaches with a wealth of training experience.

Dates for 2019/20

Region and location Dates Applications open
London 9 and 10 July 2019 Registrations closed
North East – York 10 and 11 September 2019 Registrations closed
East – Cambridge 24 and 25 September 2019 Registrations closed
North West – Manchester 8 and 9 October 2019 Registrations closed
South West – Taunton 19 and 20 November 2019 Registrations closed
Midlands – Birmingham 10 and 11 December 2019 Registrations closed
South East – London 14 and 15 January 2020 Registrations closed
Midlands – Kegworth 4 and 5 February 2020 Registrations closed
London 3 and 4 March 2020 Registrations closed

What does it cost?

The two days will run on consecutive days with accommodation provided for the middle night.  Please note we are unable to reimburse costs for travel expenses and your evening meal.

How to register a place

For information on how to register a place email

National Primary Care Improvement Community

Our Primary Care Improvement Community is over 5,114 members strong and growing. It is a national community of practice for clinicians and managers involved in facilitating innovation, improvement and transformation in general practice and wider primary care. This spreads good ideas more quickly, helping to accelerate local change and support change leaders in sustaining progress and their own resilience.

Change leaders often feel isolated, particularly in primary care, where there are relatively few people skilled in improvement science and change. Having received initial training in improvement science, many do not have other opportunities to maintain or grow their skills. Recruiting and mentoring others is hard work.

The Primary Care Improvement Community seeks to address these challenges by providing a community of practice supported by regular networking and access to the latest developments in improvement and change. Facilitated by the Time for Care team, it creates rich peer-to-peer networks. A programme of events provides multiple opportunities for members to share and learn together, and this is augmented by online networking and webinars.

Most members have already accessed support from the Time for Care programme and are able to use the community as a way to continue learning and make local improvement.

Membership of the community is free. To join the community please contact the Time for Care team.