General Practice Improvement Leads programme

Having clinicians and managers with quality improvement skills is key to successful change. Free places are provided on the General Practice Improvement Leads programme from our Time for Care team. This is a successful personal development programme with small cohorts of up to 35 people to build confidence and skills for leading service redesign in your practice or federation.

The programme incorporates interactive training workshops, personal reading and reflection, and action learning as participants lead a change project in their own workplace. Participants gain new perspectives, skills and confidence in using improvement science in general practice, and leading colleagues and teams through change. The approach has been successful with general practice clinicians and managers of widely varying experience, from those new in post to very experienced staff.

You can learn about what impact the programme has made by viewing case studies from past participants.

Who is it for?

The programme is for those working in general practice including GPs, practice managers, nurses, reception managers, senior administrators. Delegates will need to bring a small scale improvement idea/challenge to work actively on during the programme. Please see the guidance below before applying.

What are the benefits?

  • Personal development: how to deliver change and engage people in the process.
  • Building local capability: applying new skills and knowledge to lead successful improvements and change in individual practice and in developments that involve wider partnerships in the local area.
  • Accelerating change locally by working on a chosen improvement project focused around one of the 10 High Impact Actions to release time in general practice.
  • Learning alongside others from general practice and becoming part of a wider primary care improvers’ network.

What does it look like?

A modular programme of six days in total, completed over three to four months. Each module builds personal learning and the ability to help others use quality improvement techniques.

  • Module 1: Fundamentals of change and improvement (2 days). The key components needed for successful change and practical tools and techniques for making improvements, including developing a meaningful aim, measurement for improvement, identifying opportunities for improvement, and generating, prioritising and testing ideas. Delegates will have the opportunity to apply learning to their own improvement idea.
  • Module 2: Human dimensions of change (2 days). Motivating and mobilising others, working together to make changes. Part of this module will include understanding the values and motivations of ourselves and others, as well as helping building effective relationships; how to communicate well in conflict.
  • Module 3: Facilitation and presentation skills (2 days). Approaches to use when working with groups including building confidence in presenting, group dynamics and common facilitation scenarios, where interventions are needed to achieve a successful outcome from group work. Creative thinking techniques will help delegates move improvement projects on when they have become ‘stuck’ and understand the different types of feedback and tips that can be used to help provide effective feedback.

No prior knowledge of managing change or quality improvement is needed to join the programme. Certificates will be issued to participants on completion of the programme.

Module and webinar dates for 2019/20

Programme cohorts are being offered on a regional basis, with dates for cohorts taking place in 2019/20 below.  There is also expected to be one further national cohort this year, which will be added in due course.

Region and location Start dates Module and webinar dates Applications open
South West – Exeter 15 and 16 May 2019 View full cohort dates Registration closed
North West – Liverpool 21 and 22 May 2019 View full cohort dates Registration closed
South East – held in London 4 and 5 September 2019 View full cohort dates Registration closed
Midlands – Birmingham 17 and 18 September 2019 View full cohort dates Registration closed
North East – Durham 2 and 3 October 2019 View full cohort dates Registration closed
East of England – location TBC 8 and 9 January 2020 View full cohort dates Registration open


Each regional cohort is for applicants within that region as a priority. However, if places are still available on each cohort 4 weeks ahead of the start date, applications will be considered from those outside the region.

Participants will be expected to:

  • attend all six days – please ensure you can commit to this before applying
  • fully participate in all learning activities on the programme
  • work actively on a chosen small scale, improvement idea/challenge, sharing learning and providing regular updates
  • complete an end of cohort poster summarising progress on your improvement project
  • complete all pre-work and other exercises within the timescales given.

What will be provided?

  • delivery/facilitation of the programme modules
  • opportunity to apply to learn to your chosen project and share with cohort colleagues
  • programme materials, including slides (available online)
  • access to an online forum for your cohort
  • lunch and light refreshments during each day
  • overnight accommodation (bed and breakfast only) if required for the middle night of each module, booked centrally by our team.

Guidance on completing your application

Please apply individually for your own place on the programme. Preference will be given to those working in general practices.

Please note: if you work directly with general practice your application may be considered and you will be placed on a waiting list. When making your application we will require the following information from you:

  • your chosen improvement idea to work on – please see guidance below
  • what you hope to gain from joining the programme
  • what previous experience you have of quality improvement.

Your improvement project idea

To get the most out of the programme your improvement project idea should:

  • ​focus on a current problem or issue occurring within your practice.
  • be something that you are ready and able to address.
  • be small-scale and specific in order to enable you to practise using the tools at a manageable level.

If your proposed project is a larger ambition (e.g. working at scale) we would expect you to choose a specific aspect of that larger project on which to concentrate your efforts through the programme and demonstrate that clearly in your application.

Some examples that delegates have successfully worked on include document management to free up clinical time, repeat prescribing/dispensing processes, group consultations, care navigation and repeat medication reviews.

Please note that your application may be rejected if your improvement project idea does not fulfil these criteria.

What does it cost?

  • Overnight accommodation (bed and breakfast only) is available if required for the middle night at no cost to delegates.
  • Travel costs are not funded. Delegates will need to arrange and cover the cost of their own travel as needed.

Please note: participant details may be shared across other departments within NHS England which will enable us to contact participants in order to provide them with ongoing information about our work, wider NHS England work and the opportunity to be aligned to local improvement work. Participant contact details will be stored securely in accordance with the principles and requirements of the Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If you do not wish for your details to be shared please email

National Primary Care Improvement Community

Our Primary Care Improvement Community is over 2,463 members strong and growing.  It is a national community of practice for clinicians and managers involved in facilitating innovation, improvement and transformation in general practice and wider primary care. This spreads good ideas more quickly, helping to accelerate local change and support change leaders in sustaining progress and their own resilience.

Change leaders often feel isolated, particularly in primary care, where there are relatively few people skilled in improvement science and change. Having received initial training in improvement science, many do not have other opportunities to maintain or grow their skills. Recruiting and mentoring others is hard work.

The Primary Care Improvement Community seeks to address these challenges by providing a community of practice supported by regular networking and access to the latest developments in improvement and change. Facilitated by NHS England’s Sustainable Improvement team, it creates rich peer-to-peer networks. A programme of events provides multiple opportunities for members to share and learn together, and this is augmented by online networking and webinars.

Most members have already accessed support from the Time for Care programme and are able to use the community as a way to continue learning and make local improvement.

Membership of the community is free. To join the community please contact the Sustainable Improvement team.