Quality improvement tools and resources to sustainably and affordably reduce waiting times.

Access QI supports NHS boards improve waiting times by using quality improvement to balance capacity and demand.

Reducing waiting times has been a key priority for NHS Scotland for over a decade, typically waiting times initiatives have been used to reduce the backlog of patients waiting for planned care. This toolkit has been developed, using learning from across Scotland, to support NHS boards in taking a quality improvement (QI) approach to sustainably reduce waiting times.

Planned care services can reduce the time patients wait by improving their pathways to balance the workload associated with referrals to the demand for care.

By using this toolkit, planned care teams will be able to:

  • establish an effective project team to test and implement changes
  • identify the constraints in their pathway contributing to the longest waits
  • understand service user needs
  • use learning from others to increase the pace of change, and
  • use data to demonstrate a sustainable improvement has occurred.


How to use the toolkit

This toolkit has been developed to align to the improvement journey.

To start your own access improvement journey, follow each stage in order. You may need to revisit a step as you build new knowledge and learn more about your pathway.

  • Project planning and management.
  • Understanding you system.
  • Develop aim and change theory.
  • Develop specific change ideas, test and refine.
  • Implement and sustain where tested.
  • Sharing learning.

Throughout this toolkit all links have been highlighted in blue with templates and Access QI examples found in the sidebar for easy access. 

To start your own improvement journey to improve your planned care pathways, click on Stage 1: Project planning and management and work your way through each stage. 

Visit the evidence from services page to learn from planned care teams who have used quality improvement methods to improve access. This page will be updated and reviewed regularly, so check back for more! Have you used quality improvement to improve access or have a case study to share with us? Then please email the Access QI team at his.accessqi@nhs.scot and we can share your learning on our toolkit also.

We welcome your feedback to allow us to continually refine and improve this toolkit.  You can provide feedback by emailing us at his.accessqi@nhs.scot