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Academy Strategy 2021-25

2021-25 Academy Strategy

A plan for the future

We have a new Strategy! It feels so energising and uplifting to be thinking about our ambitions and priorities for the next few years; to be looking forward with positivity and enthusiasm.

For those new to us, the Academy of Research and Improvement is part of Solent NHS Trust, a community and mental healthcare provider. Solent is very much a community-facing organisation, focused on wellbeing and care out of hospital. We provide a service within the Trust that provides an integrated approach to all things evidence and knowledge-based (Research, Quality Improvement, Audit, Evaluation, Innovation and so on). The integration is deliberate – it is there to make research and other improvement tools accessible to all; to break down the traditional barriers and bring some joy into learning.

We have four underlying principles, or 'motivators'; these are our non-negotiables if you like - the things that drive us. We are here to train and support people so that they can constantly extend their knowledge and learning. It’s important that we use appropriate methods that fit our communities and our care services, and that are pragmatic and inclusive. And most importantly, we work in partnership – across our own teams, with our communities and those that use our services. We firmly believe that we cannot learn and improve what we do without being led by those that we look after and work alongside.

With those underpinning motivations in mind, our areas of focus for the next few years are fourfold:

Firstly, to increase access to research across our communities, and importantly to be part of building a stronger evidence base around care out of hospital. Up to this point, this has been a somewhat neglected area, so we will be working with our colleagues in the academic sector to extend the research focus into community settings.

Secondly, we would like to develop our evaluation expertise in order to support more rapid learning across our health and care system. We will build on our integrated approach to use adaptable methods that can respond to the needs of people we work with. We know that rapid evaluation and appraisal are extremely effective ways of driving innovation, and we are attracted to the flexibility they offer.

Thirdly, we are determined to increase access and inclusion to all areas of our work. We know that this will require radically different ways of working, but we will be ambitious and collaborative in our approach to learning to do better. We will take leadership from our community colleagues and those who use our services in order to extend the partnerships that we have. Core to this is the principal of reciprocity, that all parties benefit.

And finally, we will focus on enabling and supporting an improvement-focused workforce. One where curiosity and critical thinking about how care is delivered is part of the day job. Where people have space in their working lives to be involved in learning and improvement, and one where everyone feels comfortable working in partnership alongside those they care for.

We have deliberately kept this Strategy simple and concise. We hope it makes sense, but do share your thoughts, comments and questions.

About the author

I am the Associate Director for Research and Improvement, and the Volunteer Lead for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight mass vaccination centres. I lead the Academy, its core team and the clinical academic programme for Solent NHS Trust. I also work nationally and across Wessex on a number of areas, such as quality improvement, research strategy, patient and community partnership working and workforce development.

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