A group of 30 foundation and acute trusts hope to lead on quality and safety by forming a new membership organisation.

NHS Quest will allow members to share knowledge, benchmark against each other and provide expertise in quality and safety improvement. It is expected to set up infrastructure for the data and employ a project team, funded by member contributions.

Trusts taking part have been selected because they have already begun developing quality and safety improvement programmes. Directors from the trusts met last week to discuss what they wanted from the new organisation.

Mutual support

Salford Royal foundation trust chief executive David Dalton, who is leading the work, said NHS Quest was different from existing safety programmes in that it is "owned" by members who have decided to make the commitment for themselves. He said: "We have to think about how we support each other to be the elite. This is for us to decide what we want to do, instead of waiting for someone else to tell us how to do it."

The members plan to agree common measures of improvement in five areas - mortality, harm avoidance, evidence based care, productivity, and patient experience.

Gloucestershire Hospitals foundation trust chief executive Frank Harsent, one of six chiefs on the steering group with Mr Dalton, said it would result in the organisations improving care more quickly.

The steering group is developing details of the organisation before seeking final agreement and commitment of funds from the trusts.