NHS Lothian team in UK first

A NHS LOTHIAN team has become the first UK public sector service to receive a prestigious quality award.

The team at the Hospital Sterilisation and Decontamination Unit at Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary have been awarded a top grade for its work in protecting patients by the Chartered Quality Institute.

The unit is a key support service in ensuring that life-saving surgery and other operations can go head, sterilising 7m surgical instruments a year.

Dr Charles Swainson, Medical Director, NHS Lothian, said

We are very proud that this vital support service has become the first public sector organisation in the UK to receive this commendation. This unit is a really important part of ensuring that surgery can be performed safely and quickly and the staff have done a fantastic job in driving improvements themselves. It's great to see their efforts being recognised in this way."

Working through NHS Lothian's modernisation programme Lean in Lothian, the 109-strong team made changes delivering considerable efficiency gains.

They were able to increase the numbers of trays of equipment being processed for safe reuse from 200 a day to 340 a day, a 35% increase.

They also managed to cut the amount of time taken to process trays by 30%, saving over a day on the normal time taken for equipment to be returned to theatre areas for safe reuse.

The team has also been shortlisted for the best independent project of the year in the inaugural Lean Healthcare Academy Awards, a UK wide event.