Posted on: 6 August 2021

August 2021                                                                                                             

74 active QI projects showing improvement across CNWL

Photo: Agapanthus, Peter Smith

Projects starting to emerge

Project teams on the QI Practicum 2021 are starting to get going on defining their QI projects and so this month we focus on one of the very fundamental and essential steps in developing a QI project; the Aim Statement.  Our lead article answers the question of how to make your Aim the most likely to lead to a successful QI project using the SMART acronym.

Also, this month we take a look at some of the team shields being developed by Practicum teams.  Developing a team shield may seem like just a bit of fun, but when a team starts talking about what each member brings to the project, the team begins the journey of working together and valuing the different contributions each team member can make.

Our QI Tip of the month is about chartering your project on Life QI and we have a step by step guide to lead you through the process, making extra note of the bits of the process that need attention to get it right first time.

Virtual Bitesize QI training dates to the end of 2021 are included as ever; open for any staff to book via LDZ.

We welcome your feedback and if there is anything you would like to see in future editions of the newsletter, do please get in touch by e-mailing

Starting your QI project: Developing your Aim Statement

Developing your aim statement is one of the first ‘thinking’ steps in applying the model for improvement.  It is a fundamental step to ‘get right’ and forms the basis of all of the ensuing improvement work that a project team will need to do in their QI project.  So, spending sufficient time in thinking about and discussing/agreeing your aim is definitely time well spent.  But what questions do you need to think about to develop the best aim that will provide your project with the greatest chance of success?  The questions to ask yourselves as a project team come under the SMART acronym: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.

The following graphic shows what a good aim is designed to do; in essence an aim statement defines what and where the project is about, how much it sets out to improve and by when.  That means that there are four key elements for the statement; what, where, by how much and by when.

To ensure that we have those elements present, we can apply the SMART acronym and the following graphic defines what each means.

In learning about applying the model for improvement, there is no better way to learn than considering a few examples, so here are some good aim statements.  Can you spot the ‘what, where, by how much and by when’?

  • To reduce wait times in Harrow CAMHS service for initial assessment from 6 months to 4 months by 01 December 2021, whilst maintaining safety and maximising service user experience and outcomes.
  • Archway Sexual Health Clinic to increase the number of STI screens performed each month by 50% by January 2022
  • To enhance patient access to Hillingdon District Nursing Services by improving patient call answer rate to over 90% by October 2021

To help you learn more about developing your aim, here are several options to help your learning:

Good luck with developing your SMART Aim.  Don’t forget that a QI coach can help you if you are stuck.  Contact your Divisional Improvement Advisor who can put you in touch with a QI coach if you need one.

News from the Practicum 2021


The second QI Practicum Prep Call took place on 21 July, with the 24 project teams starting to consider some of the concepts that will underpin each of their QI projects; what does team spirit mean for QI work; systems thinking and diffusion of change and how do we gain knowledge for improvement?

The session also covered some more practical elements of setting off on a project; using a team shield exercise to get teams talking together and looking at tools (Fishbone diagram, the 5 Ps and the 5 Whys – all featured in the July 2021 QI Newsletter) to develop an understanding of what needs to be improved in a system.  We rounded off the session with a look at how to charter a project on the Life QI system (see tip of the month below).

Developing team shields was a chance for staff to be creative whilst getting to know about team member’s strengths and skills that they bring to the projects.  Here are a few of the shields that are being developed:





QI Tip of the month: Chartering your project on Life QI

Chartering your project on Life QI is the first step to recording your project work.  By chartering we mean setting up or registering your project on the online system.  It is a fairly simple 6 step process.  You will need to have your aims statement ready to enter and have thought about the problem that you are trying to solve and rationale for your project before you begin the process of chartering.  The following diagrams lead you through what you will see on screen.

Upcoming Training Dates

Bitesize QI 

Dates for the ever-popular monthly 3-hour virtual QI training on the model for improvement and how to set out on a QI project are bookable on LDZ at:

Search for ‘Bitesize QI’ to find the course, which is available on these dates all starting at 9.30am:                                 

Tuesday 17 August 2021  
Tuesday 14 September 2021       
Tuesday 12 October 2021 
Tuesday 16 November 2021 (to be confirmed – this date may change)
Tuesday 14 December 2021

Useful links

Contact information for Improvement Advisors:

Diggory Division: Michele Dowling

Goodall Division and Corporate: Peter Smith

Jameson Division: Geetika Singh


CNWL QI Microsite:

Life QI:

IHI Open School:

If you want to get in touch please contact us here: