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Continuous Improvement – The NECS Way

Improving quality, safety and experience

Traditional continuous improvement in healthcare is a systematic approach to enhancing quality and outcomes of care, safety, patient experience and efficiency. The goal of continuous improvement is ‘excellence’ or ‘perfection’ by establishing ways of working that maximise value, remove waste and support frontline staff to identify the root causes of problems in systems and processes and to develop solutions.

We deliver, and enhance this approach, by recognising the importance of the human dimensions of change. To achieve high impact, sustainable improvement we believe the right conditions for change need to be created by the senior leadership team to engage, empower, develop and support the entire workforce; to realise their potential through harnessing intrinsic motivation, diversity of background and experience, and innovative ideas for which they are provided ownership. Furthermore, we recognise the challenges of improvement and the personal investment individuals make to improving patient experience and outcomes. We therefore integrate emotional health and well-being into our improvement practice.

The NECS Way

The NECS Way can support you to develop these conditions, support and develop staff, and build an enduring culture of continuous improvement to achieve healthcare excellence. We offer a bespoke and flexible approach to meet your specific needs and unique context. Our philosophy is to ‘do with’ not ‘do to’ so that we work as a coaching partner until your organisation reaches a point of independence in your improvement journey.

Developed by experts in the field of improvement, The NECS Way is based on contemporary evidence, which includes our own published research, and our vast cross-industry experience as improvement coaches. We have supported organisations in the NHS, private healthcare, the Ministry of Defence, local government, the charity sector and many service industries.

By adopting a unique approach to improvement that balances the technical with the human elements of improvement and change, The NECS Way can help you address challenges such as:

  • Improving patient and staff experience
  • Improving the quality and safety of healthcare
  • Reducing cost per capita and increasing productivity
  • Developing collaborative relationships across system boundaries to tackle shared problems
  • Reducing inefficiencies and staff frustrations
  • Releasing human potential across the organisation

We offer a tiered model to support improvement capability, to establish management systems that align improvement efforts with organisational goals and to deliver tangible benefits. Integrated throughout this system is development of leadership skills and behaviours to support people through change.

Our training system can be delivered in isolation at any level, or combination of levels, to suit your specific needs. We adopt a ‘train the trainer’ approach to enable you to develop your own internal improvement training capability.

As added value, our training is accredited by the Lean Competency System, an industry standard Lean qualification developed at Cardiff University. As well as providing participants with an international, cross-industry recognised qualification, individuals are provided with access to a global network of improvement practitioners.

How we’ve helped

We have supported NHS Trusts to realise tangible benefits through continuous improvement.  Some examples of improvements made include:

  • NHS Foundation Trust Emergency Care
    • Reduced number of ED/Ambulance handovers taking more than 15 minutes by 23% and reduced number taking more than one hour from over 100 handovers to 14 within a 6-month period
    • Improved 4 hour wait performance from 82% to 95%
    • Reduced acute admissions resulting in ward closures saving £2.2million
  • NHS Foundation Trust Frailty Services
    • 23-hour reduction in length of stay
    • 30% reduction in readmissions
    • £225,000 cost avoidance
  • NHS Foundation Trust Outpatient Services
    • Introduction of telephone and video consultations during Covid-19 pandemic saving patients time and travel costs; ‘virtual outpatients’ now embedding across service areas
  • NHS Foundation Trust Ophthalmology
    • Increase in Ophthalmology OCT machine utilisation from 44% to 71% (with £97,000 cost avoidance) and patient journey reduced from 127 minutes to 50 minutes
    • Ward discharge process reduced from 26 minutes to 30 seconds

Meet the team

David Dixon BA; MA; MSc
Continuous Improvement Consultant​

David is a Continuous Improvement Consultant with over 13 years’ NHS experience. As a graduate of the prestigious NHS Management Training Scheme, David’s previous NHS roles include Associate Director of Quality, Assistant Director of Improvement and Clinical Effectiveness, Improvement Programme Manager, and Quality Improvement Lead. As such, David has demonstrable experience in the practical delivery and strategic implementation of continuous improvement. ​

He is a certified Lean Leader, a Specialist Practice Coach and Health Foundation ‘Q’ member with experience of designing, developing, and delivering continuous improvement programmes and capability building at both organisational and system level within the NHS. ​

David has a particular interest in the development and sustainability of a culture of continuous improvement. He has undertaken research and contributed to publications in this field, and has practical experience in embedding new systems and processes, and shaping improvement functions to deliver within busy operational environments.​

Ross Miscandlon​
Continuous Improvement Consultant​

Ross is a Continuous Improvement Consultant, responsible for supporting continuous improvement, leadership development and improvement projects within health and care organisations to support the relentless pursuit for improving the care our communities receive.​ He has over 10 years Continuous Improvement delivery and Results Coaching in small and large-scale organisations spanning; Aviation, Military, Government, Charity and Rail sectors.​

With a background in aeronautical engineering, Ross understands the absolute importance of robust process development in complex environments to ensure people are in the best possible place to deliver safe and efficient results. Combining that with his experience in international delivery of continuous improvement and leadership coaching to over 60 different nationalities, Ross brings people from all perspectives on the journey to deliver the most sustainable improvement for the environment, taking current constraints into account.

Fiona Ramsay RMN
Organisational Development & Continuous Improvement Manager

Fiona is a registered Mental Health Nurse and as a Senior Organisational Development and Continuous Improvement Manager, is responsible for evaluating, designing and implementing the OD and CI work plan for multiple areas. Through her decades of experience within the NHS Fiona is well experienced in transformation, using her combined clinical, organisational development and service improvement skillset. She is familiar with coaching executive teams to review their current skills, knowledge and practice to develop plans for improvement for them as individuals or at local, regional and national levels. Her clinical background and expertise has equipped her with the ability to view issues from a number of perspectives; strategically, corporately and clinically. This is frequently an advantage when working with clinical and non-clinical groups. Fiona is an accredited Healthcare Leadership Model facilitator and certified MBTI practitioner.

Andy Parkinson MSc
Continuous Improvement Consultant

Andy Parkinson is a certified Aeronautical Engineer, certified Lean coach and holds an MSc in Service Lean. He has over 20 years of leadership experience in the delivery of successful large-scale Lean Transformations with extensive experience of facilitating large-scale change with sustained results. He has supported enterprise-wide transformation with the MOD, local government, healthcare and the charity sector, providing specialisation in the service industry. He has significant experience in developing teams in improvement methodologies. In a previous role as Director of Improvement with a commercial company based in the Middle East, he built a multi-national team of 50 improvement coaches. Andy has recent experience of supporting the delivery of significant improvement work in healthcare and is currently supporting two large NHS Trusts based in London and Birmingham.

Dr Siobhan Taylor PhD FHEA
Continuous Improvement Consultant

Siobhan is a registered physiotherapist and developed her knowledge and skills in improvement through leading transformational change projects in musculoskeletal and orthopaedic services in the NHS. She further developed expertise in the field working in Higher Education as a Principal Lecturer in Service Improvement & Leadership, where she coached individuals in their leadership skills and behaviours for improvement, and supported their improvement work. This ranged from localised process improvements to cross-organisational complex change within healthcare, local authorities and the voluntary sector. She has a particular interest in balancing the technical and humanistic elements of improvement which was the focus of her PhD exploring the emotional experience of Lean in healthcare. This research led to the development of a ‘Humanistic Framework for Rapid Process Improvement Workshops’ which aims to ensure the emotional well-being of staff as well as support longer-term impact and sustainability of the change. Taylor, S. et al (2021) ‘Exploring the emotional experience of Lean’. Journal of Health Organization & Management, 35(1), pp.34-52. DOI10.1108/JHOM-01-2020-0002. Siobhan is an accredited Healthcare Leadership Model facilitator and certified MBTI practitioner.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss our improvement offer in more detail, please contact us on: