Case Study: East London NHS

East London Foundation Trust from patient deaths to ‘outstanding experience’ in six years.


This was the Guardian headline in 2011 after a series of deaths on one ward in Tower Hamlets, a mental health unit run by East London Foundation Trust. One of the deaths was a homicide. Despite already being classed as ‘excellent’ by the NHSLA level 2 health check in 2008, it was clear that there was a gap between board and ward which spurned the executive team to take a fresh look at what was needed to focus on culture, staff, engagement and improvement.


  1. Use executive team to learn from front line staff, remove barriers and challenge practice;
  2. Systematically share and record the data that is collected and ensure that the Board have sight on this data;
  3. Improve the quality of the largest staff group through values based recruitment, targeted development programmes and working with local universities;
  4. Enable open access to all staff and partners to learn about improvement methodologies level;
  5. Support staff to find time and space for improvement work;
  6. Support involvement of service users and carers in improvement work.
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