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Dudley Improvement


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Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement

In 2018, The Dudley Group made a long-term commitment to building a system for Continuous Improvement and was selected by NHS England and Improvement to be part of the first national cohort in the Vital Signs programme. Supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I), eight trusts have co-produced an approach to developing a culture of Continuous Improvement, which is founded on supporting and empowering staff to improve the services they are passionate about.

The Dudley Improvement Practice (DIP)

Vision and approach

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The Practice is used to develop a culture of continuous improvement through a scientific thinking approach to problem-solving, and a coaching style of leadership


Peter is Director of Improvement at The Dudley Group. In this video, he provides an insight into how Improvement Practice can benefit teams within the organisation.

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Organisational Development

The DIP and Organisational Development (OD) teams work together with a shared purpose of developing individuals, teams and services.  We have an extensive range of internally developed programmes, which together have the capability to deliver significant improvement in employee engagement, morale, health & wellbeing, team working, line management and performance.



All improvement activity supported by DIP will be aligned to the Trust strategic objectives using the principle of ‘True Norths’, which describe the state of perfection that we continually strive towards. Each division, department and team will use the True Norths to guide their improvement efforts by defining breakthrough objectives specific to their work area.  Using a structured process (known as A3s) for each project as a standard problem-solving tool, and a ward to board reporting information cascade of virtual or physical improvement boards and team huddles, every member of staff will know how their work is contributing to the Trust vision and strategy.

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Catherine is a Specialist Practice Coach at The Dudley Group. In this video, she provides an insight into how Improvement Practice helps teams within the organisation.

You can complete our online training course by logging into our Postgraduate Learning platform using the following link;



DIP will deliver a range of training to suit different project needs at various levels of competence:


Aimed at providing staff with skills to be able to take a structured approach to problem solving and improvement projects. E-learning modules have been developed to reach the target of one thousand members of staff per annum.

Improvement Coach Levels 1, 2 and 3

The use of Lean technical tools as well as their practical application to projects of all sizes, from improving process efficiency through to pathway transformation.


Working together with the Trust’s Learning and Development team, consistent leadership training is provided throughout all programmes; gradually transitioning from a predominance of Pace-Setting and Hero leadership styles to a Coaching style, which supports and empowers our people to thrive.

To enquire about any of the improvement training courses or to book a place select the form below;

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Project Activity


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Executives leading by example using the DIP method to deliver their own strategic objectives that contribute to the overall Trust strategy.

Senior clinical leaders choose end-to-end pathways to be the focus of improvement activity for a whole year. These will include training staff and five-day events to start teams on their improvement journey, and to ensure the components of Continuous Improvement are in place to sustain long-term quality improvement.

These are requests for support from teams that have identified opportunities or have become aware of inefficiencies which they would like support in addressing. In addition, as part of Practice Coach level three accreditation, there is a requirement for a small improvement project to be completed using the DIP method.

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We want our Staff Survey results to reflect the hard work and professionalism of our diverse and talented workforce.  Using a subset of the National Staff Survey questions, teams who have engaged in improvement activity using DIP have scored significantly higher than the national average in themes of engagement, morale and team working. 

From 2021, working with operational and clinical leaders in each division, the HR Business Partners are using the DIP method to guide Staff Survey improvement activity.  Using 2020 results, each division has selected departments on which to specifically target Improvement and Organisational Development activities to improve results in staff inclusion and engagement.



Applying the principles of Continuous Improvement to the DIP system itself, The Dudley Group will maintain strong co-development relationships with the other Vital Signs and Virginia Mason Institute Trusts to share and learn with each other.  DIP will be systematically developed over the next three years so that it becomes an ever more significant enabler of the Trust’s strategic vision.

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Dudley Improvement


Peter Lowe

Director of Improvement

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Catherine May

Specialist Practice Coach

Hanna Cox

Senior Improvement Coach

Nick Conway

Specialist Practice Coach

Chloe Taylor

Project Administrator

Avarita Dunkley

Improvement Trainer and Coach

Emma Hughes

Improvement Trainer and Coach

Chris Cooke

Data Coach

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