NLCA clinical lead Paul Beckett discusses his quality improvement (QI) visit to the North West.
I recently attended a meeting of the Cheshire and Merseyside Strategic Clinical Network (SCN) lung cancer subgroup at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool as part of the National Lung Cancer Audit's (NLCA's) aim to raise awareness of the programme, to encourage local discussion of results and to try to stimulate quality improvement. Knowing that prior to the publication of our recent NLCA annual report 2016 several of the trusts had been concerned about the accuracy of their data, I set off with some trepidation.
We then discussed the local results, where I think it is correct to say that a ‘robust discussion’ took place
The meeting was attended by a number of medical, nursing and support staff from across the SCN, and it was nice to see some old friends who I had worked with in 2008 when my hospital was paired with Liverpool as part of the Improving Lung Cancer Outcomes Project (ILCOP). I was also fortunate to be supported by Karen Graham and Emily Griffiths from the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) who have been working with the local trusts to improve their data quality.
My talk began with a short presentation, focusing on the recent changes to the NLCA as well as the headline national results from the recent report. We then discussed the local results, where I think it is correct to say that a ‘robust discussion’ took place.
Understandably, some of the teams felt unhappy that the data that had been published about their service did not tally with what they expected and, in particular, that extra cases had been found that they were not aware of. I explained about deep-dive audits done at a number of trusts had revealed that the majority of these extra cases were real lung cancers, although in the case of some of the Cheshire and Merseyside trusts the situation was not so reassuring.
Deep-dive audits done at a number of trusts had revealed that the majority of these extra cases were real lung cancers.
I hope that I was able to reassure all the attendees that the NLCA team takes data quality very seriously, and that we now want to try to move the focus onto real and sustainable quality improvement.
As always, it was humbling to see how passionate teams are about their local services and their engagement with national audit, and the extra effort that they are prepared to make to collect and use their data.
Paul Beckett, NLCA clinical lead