New online forum helps NHS staff in South West Wales connect and improve care

 An innovative online forum has been launched which brings together NHS staff and academics who are all working to improve health services in this region.

The online forum is called ARCH-i, the i standing for “improvement” and will allow busy NHS professionals access to a range of improvement resources and ready access to expertise in South West Wales. The developing field of improvement science has been widely applied in industry to improve services and ensure reliability but uptake in health services across the world is still at a relatively early stage. 

ARCH-i is being delivered through the ARCH Portfolio. ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) is a unique partnership between ABM and Hywel Dda University Health Boards and Swansea University aimed at improving the health, wealth and wellbeing of South West Wales.

ARCH was formed to tackle some of the major challenges the health service faces on a daily basis.  These three organisations have come together to action significant change at scale - and at pace.

 ABMU chair and ARCH chair Professor Andrew Davies has praised the launch of the new online improvement forum. He said: “I am delighted the ARCH partnership is able to support this excellent network of our staff.

“We already have many best-in-class services.

“This online meeting place will ensure we are making the most of the huge amount of expertise available across South West Wales and support our clinicians to share experience and continue to achieve excellence.”

 The network already has over 200 members and aims to achieve 1,000 active participants within its first three months.

Christopher Jones, ABMU Pharmacist &Improvement Science Practitioner at Singleton Hospital’s Cancer Centre, said NHS staff in this area were keen to learn from each other and share the wealth of expertise in both ABMU and Hywel Dda health boards, as well as maximise the research taking place in Swansea University around improvement science.

Mr Jones said: “We all want to improve the care and services we provide. There is a huge amount of experience and expertise in ABMU and being able to tap into this is invaluable in my day to day work.

“By adding Swansea University and Hywel Dda health board to the mix, this means potentially 30,000 NHS employees can share best practice, innovation and so much more – all of which will contribute to improving NHS care.”

Jessicca Svetz, Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Service Improvement Manager praised the new forum. She said: “The ARCH-i project and subsequent online portal will become the one-stop-shop for service improvement professionals in the health sector of South West Wales.

“We envisage that this will drive collaboration, along with the spread of ideas and best practice all with the end goal of improving patient experiences.

 “ARCH-i is a much needed resource for academic, clinical and management professionals associated with the health sector. Linking these three professional groups will drive improvement to the service areas at most need, by allowing for the most up to date thinking being translated to on the ground delivery of services.” 

Over 50 improvement science professionals from Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Swansea University got together in person earlier this month to share their experiences along with colleagues from The Bevan Commission, at the SHINE event hosted at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli.

Dr Sharon Williams, ARCH-i Project lead, based at Swansea University, said the event helped shape the direction of the online portal. She said: “The event provided us with a vital opportunity to drive the direction of ARCH-i, which will link improvers and improvement across South West Wales. ARCH-i will provide a virtual meeting point for news updates, sharing and collaboration, a gateway to an international improvement community, learning and problem solving and the spread of ideas and good practice.

“So many of our clinicians and managers are doing excellent improvement work but ARCH-i will give them ready access to advice and support plus a way to share their expertise. Providing this via a web resource fits well with people’s busy schedules.

“There will be regular hot topics for members to discuss and we want to encourage members to have an instant dialogue to be able to exchange improvement ideas and innovations.”

 Sign up here: http://www.arch.wales/forum-register.htm