By Ruth Parker, Improvement and Development Practitioner with CLIC

The merger in October 2019 of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and North Cumbria University Hospital Trust (NCUHT) brought together the Patient Experience team from (CPFT), Patient Advice and Liaison Service and Complaints from (NCUHT) into one team. 

Alison Budd Director of Nursing and Quality suggested a Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW) would be a great opportunity for the 3 teams to work together to develop and better system of working to improve the service to patients their family and carers. The RPIW week would be supported by CLIC.

The week of 18th October began with a full day of training, to equipped the team members with all the tools they needed to make real and lasting change. 

Trust staff rallied to support the week with encouragement and assistance coming from clinical staff, consultants, matrons, allied health professionals and nursing staff who were keen to help our team develop a new way to work.

Patient representative Sue Gallagher, contributed invaluable knowledge from a patient’s perspective.

The week was supported by Nikki Bridson, Business Manager, Quality and Nursing who offered ‘outside eyes’ and kept the focus for us all. 

We looked at how the teams currently work and how they would like to work in the future. They suggested 69 ideas for improvement and wrote 24 A3 project plans to make changes. The team have identified who will work on each of the A3 project plans and now come together once per week for 10 minutes to demonstrate progress.

One of the first tasks the team undertook was to re-write the letters which are sent to patients on the receipt of a complaint. Sue was able to give assistance in this, making the letters seem less formal and helping by suggesting what about the process would be key for patients and families.

A smaller group worked together with Liz Klein to redesigned a process to resolve issues for patients at the bedside, with a clear escalation to someone who would assist in resolving issues early.

The team is developing a communications strategy to improve its visibility in the trust and to encourage patients to make any concerns known, in line with the new focus on all staff being able to resolve issues locally.


The RPIW brought the 3 teams together and they quickly left their old organisational ties behind to begin working closely on taking the best from both organisations, bringing in some new ideas.

The RPIW week was the beginning of the improvement journey. CLIC will continue to support the team over the next 30, 60, 90 days to make the exciting changes identified during the week become a reality, improving the care for patients and job satisfaction for staff.


If you would like more information on a RPIW with the CLIC team, please contact: 

For more information on A3s and other improvement tools, please go to the Cumbria Production System Toolkit.