There is growing recognition of the importance of quality improvement in general practice. But what is the extent of knowledge and usage of quality improvement tools and approaches across the UK, and how can we embed a culture of improvement?

Our report explores the level of quality improvement awareness, appetite and activity in general practice across the UK.

Read the report foreword and commentary

The Health Foundation commissioned the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to survey over 2,300 GPs and 1,400 practice managers across the UK, alongside qualitative interviews. 

The research shows that most GPs and practice managers see quality improvement as a core aspect of their work, with 99% reporting undertaking QI activities, and many working collaboratively with neighbouring practices to improve services. 

However, there are many issues making it difficult to deliver improvement, including high patient demand and staff shortages; demands of other NHS agencies; lack of protected time; and level of improvement capability.  

The report highlights the need for practices to create an environment conducive to quality improvement, where: 

  • all staff are encouraged to learn about and participate in improvement  
  • time is protected for undertaking QI activities, outside of daily roles 
  • there is greater collaboration between practices, such as formal partnerships to identify and address capability gaps. 

Policymakers and system leaders have a responsibility to support those working in general practice to improve the quality of the services they provide by helping: 

  • staff to develop quality improvement and data skills 
  • practices carve out time for quality improvement.

Find out more

To hear more about our work in this area, go to our preference centre, where you can sign up to receive updates via email on topics such as primary care and quality improvement.

Cite this publication

Gosling J, Mays N, Erens B, Reid D, Taylor W, Jones B. Quality improvement in general practice. Health Foundation; 2019. (

Further reading


Quality improvement


Improving quality in health care is about making it safe, effective, patient-centred, timely,...

Learning report

The improvement journey

May 2019
Learning report

A learning report explaining why improvement in health care matters, and how to get started in your...

You might also like...


COVID-19 recovery: opportunities for building a relational approach to quality improvement


Public health specialty registrar Dr Esther Kwong reflects on her personal experience of using...

Newsletter feature

Insights from the pandemic: what can be learned about service transformation?

Newsletter feature

A new report from Q explores the role of improvement in delivering rapid service change during the...

Newsletter blog

After the fire: regrowth and regeneration

Newsletter blog

'With the right conditions, like the forest after a fire, the health and care sector will be able to...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

This week's @ONS data indicate that #YoungPeople have been among the hardest hit by the economic fallout of the pan…

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more