MORE than 7,650 NHS Wales staff have completed the first level of the national learning programme Improving Quality Together, according to new figures.
The scheme, which provides staff, contractors, managers and board members with skills that will help them improve the care delivered to patients, has been completed at the first level by 7,654 people in the past 15 months.
There are three levels to the programme, launched in March 2013, and it is led by 1,000 Lives Improvement, which is part of Public Health Wales.
Staff complete the bronze level through a series of online modules, with the silver level providing an opportunity to develop and implement improvement projects. The gold level is establishing a network of improvement coaches and there is additional training for board members.
Dr Alan Willson, director of 1,000 Lives Improvement, said: "Improving Quality Together is providing staff with the knowledge and expertise to continue improving our services, so that they are the safest and most efficient they can be.
"We are already seeing the benefits of staff speaking a common language of improvement as they work towards the same goals - improved patient experience and outcomes."
"We are delighted that so many NHS Wales staff have completed at least the bronze level of Improving Quality Together and are looking forward to even more colleagues signing up to the learning programme."
In Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, cleaner operating theatres have lead to safer care under the scheme.
Nurse Helen Dinham used the skills she learnt to reduce surgical site infections, by improving the standard practice of cleaning in orthopaedic theatres in the health board.
Improving Quality Together helped her team address the obstacles that were preventing the correct level of cleaning taking place, such as standardising equipment and amended policies.
The outcome of the project was 100% compliance with the cleaning requirements, meaning infection risks were reduced and patients would recover more quickly.
She said: "Reaching our target was very good for staff morale and has reassured patients that the quality of care and the standard of cleanliness in orthopaedic theatres is excellent."
In ABMU Health Board, they looked at improving patient flow and communication on hospital wards.
Reducing delays in a patient's journey and improving communication on hospital wards are just two of the key benefits gained from Jo Rowland's silver project in the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend.
The assistant head of physiotherapy used her Improving Quality Together training to implement daily ward rounds to discuss each patient and find out the next step needed.
Reporting back findings on a daily basis has increased efficiency and resulted in reduced lengths of stay in hospital and improved patient flow through the wards.
It has also provided a consistent approach, which has improved communication between staff, patients and their families.
Meanwhile, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has improved access to dental services for patients in prison Head of primary care service delivery Rhian Blake used her silver training to improve access to dental services for patients at Her Majesty's Prison in Cardiff. In the past 18 months the profile of the prison population had changed significantly, with more individuals on remand and shorter sentences.
As a result, many patients had incomplete dental treatment, or didn't receive the required treatment in a timely fashion.
Rhian used the programme's methodology to analyse the problem and find solutions, which included the immediate allocation of appointments when needed, and a quicker triage process. The changes led to a reduction in complaints and fewer missed appointments.