60 seconds with Dr John Connolly

13 December 2017

Dr John Connolly is group director for clinical pathways and together with Kam Kalirai, associate director for service transformation – CPG, is leading on the development of clinical practice groups for the RFL group.

So, remind us - what are clinical practice groups?

Clinical practice groups (CPGs) are clinical oversight groups which will lead in reducing unwarranted variation and improving the care we deliver for patients across all of our hospitals. Multi-professional clinical teams, supported by operational management, will redesign care pathways using evidence based principles and current best practice to deliver the best possible outcomes for our patients. At the moment CPGs are based on our divisional structures but will change over time as the programme grows.

How has the programme developed over the last six months?

We have had a series of workshops with staff to agree what pathways we will focus on redesigning over the next few months. We have settled on around 20 pathways across all our divisions, which cover many of the most common reasons patients are admitted to our hospitals. Examples include induction of labour, childhood wheeze and asthma, hip replacement, community acquired pneumonia and haematuria. The work has generated great excitement and engagement from clinical and managerial teams  which has been hugely encouraging now we have established multi-professional, multi-site teams working on each of the pathways.

Which other organisations are involved?

Colleagues from North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust and West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust have been increasingly involved in the programme over recent months. I have spoken at various forums with staff from both those trusts – many of whom we work with already. What is clear is that their clinicians share our belief that this is the way to deliver sustainable improvements in quality and efficiency.

How is this work being supported?

I am really pleased we are building a strong team to support this work across the organisation, covering all our sites. CPGs are chaired by the divisional directors from each site and they are supported by full time programme managers Helen Wark (surgery and associated services division), Rachael Brady (medicine and urgent care division), Lorraine Gallagher (women’s and children’s division), Ann Woodward (transplant and specialist services division) who will play a critical role in working with clinicians and operational teams to design and implement the new pathways of care. Data, analytical and finance support is provided by Scott Wilson, Shuang Yang and Neil Corless.

So, what’s next for the CPG programme?

Well, I think the really difficult work starts here. Teams will be reviewing our data, analysing random samples of patient pathways, reviewing published best practice and forming a view very quickly about the areas where there is the most significant unwarranted variation – and then set about designing ways of eliminating it. Those are not trivial tasks.

Right now, what are you most excited about with the CPG programme?

Engaging frontline staff is vital to the success of the programme, so I am really pleased with the energy there has been so far. However, patient involvement is an area we have sometimes struggled with – and  so I am really proud that we are embedding patient  co-design in the programme and ways of working from the outset. For more information contact: johnconnolly@nhs.net