Posted on: 24 May 2024

On Thursday 9 May 2024, CNWL held its first Improving Flow Spreadathon celebration event. The Spreadathon involved eight teams, from five acute in-patient mental health sites, working towards a common goal of improving their length of stay by at least 10%.

The Spreadathon framework aims to bring similar teams together to share improvement, adopt/test improvement in a collaborative setting to scale up and spread their improvement work.

Spreadathon framework.png

With over 50 people in attendance, the day was a great example of how teams can come together to share and reflect on what their improvement journeys have been like over the six months of the Spreadathon programme (highlighting differences and similarities), and have their sponsors support them to ‘spread’ successful changes across to other services.

The energy and enthusiasm in the room was infectious, a special thank you to everybody who was involved in attending, those covering teams back at base, and those involved in preparation or speaking at the event. Presentations and stories were shared throughout the day, including:

  • Looking at how the Improving Flow Spreadathon teams have come so far
  • Each team presenting their biggest breakthrough PDSA
  • Table discussions looking at how to sustain and maintain their project successes beyond the programme

Each of the teams had also provided visual displays of their projects that could be viewed and read by all in the main reception area at Trust HQ in London.

We were incredibly pleased to be joined by several of our Expert by Experience (EbE) colleagues in the room. At 100% involvement rate, we couldn’t thank our EbE colleagues enough for their commitment to the Improving Flow Spreadathon and for always being on hand to provide friendly feedback and ideas for improvement.

The morning of the event was focused more on looking at where they started and reflecting on what they have been through to get to where they are now. We were inspired by our friends at the IHI to carry out our own ‘Bonfire of Failure’ (see image below) to celebrate individual team learning. Each team were asked to share their teams’ biggest failure and how that transformed into their most powerful learning. Showing that that there is no such thing as ‘Success & Failure’, only ‘Success & Learning’. It is important to create a safe space where teams are able to be vulnerable together while discussing when things go wrong. This was a new experience for teams to reflect on their improvement work in this way and the consensus in the room was that it was a very positive experience.

Improvement Academy Spreadathon event.png

During the day, we took a look at a specially designed Tableau dashboard (a huge thank you to our Business Intelligence colleagues!). And some of the data highlights included:

  • Improvement in Length of Stay (LOS) of current inpatients by week
    • 12.6% for Amazon ward
    • 16.4% for Thames ward
    • 20.8% for Pond ward
  • Improvement in Readmission within 30 days of discharge
    • 15.8% for Campbell Centre

The afternoon was about team’s direction of travel towards sustainability and how they can work towards maintaining their improvements and implementing them as ‘Business As Usual’ (BAU). The ‘sailboat’ activity was re-visited to support teams to take a prospective view, exploring how they might navigate any future risks or barriers on the horizon with their project sponsors, and how any lessons learnt are captured to ensure teams are able to sustain their improvement and ‘hold the gains’ beyond the spreadathon.

Sailboat retrospective -Improvement academy spreadathon.png

The day closed with an Awards Ceremony. Alison Butler (Director of Improvement) and Dr Gareth Jarvis (Medical Director – Jameson) handed out the following awards to each of the eight teams:

  • Amazon Ward, St Charles Hospital won the Meaningful Involvement Award
  • Campbell Centre, Milton Keynes were awarded the Navigating Complexity Award
  • Danube Ward, St Charles Hospital won the Inspiring Visuals Award
  • Ferneley Ward, Northwick Park Hospital received the Family Engagement Award
  • Pond Ward, Park Royal Hospital were awarded the Ultimate Teamwork Award and the People’s Choice Award (voted for on the day of the celebration event by attendees)
  • Riverside Centre, Hillingdon received the Committed to the Improvement Journey Award
  • Senior Leadership Team, St Charles Hospital won the Time Saver Award
  • Thames Ward, St Charles Hospital were awarded the Strive for Efficiency Award

Thank you to all of the teams and sponsors involved, and to our speakers and facilitators on the day: Dr Con Kelly (Chief Medical Officer), Graeme Caul (Chief Operating Officer), Phillip Perkins (EbE), Dr Gareth Jarvis (Medical Director, Jameson), Dr Simon Edwards (Deputy Chief Medical Officer / Medical Director, Diggory), Alison Butler (Director of Improvement) and the entire QI team.

Highlights for the event were shared on X (previously Twitter) the next day. Check out the IA account and give it a follow!