Award Shortlisting for NHS Lothian's Kaizen Work

PIONEERING work carried out by NHS Lothian to overhaul current management of healthcare has been shortlisted in the national HR Excellence Awards.

The work - which has addressed issues surrounding delayed discharge and waiting times for colorectal cancer and radiology CT scanning - has been nominated in the Best Change Management Programme category at the ceremony, which will be held on July 2nd in London.

The "lean management" training, or Kaizen, is offered by healthcare experts GE Healthcare and was introduced to NHS Lothian staff in August 2006. It aims to improve the level of services on offer by enabling staff to identify issues themselves.

The management principles were invented by Japanese car makers Toyota and insist that lasting change is only possible where staff themselves have spotted the problem and been truly involved in its solution, suggesting that change imposed from above or by external influences is never as effective or successful.

James McCaffery, Director of Human Resources, NHS Lothian, said:

"It is great news that we have been shortlisted for this award. It is a fitting tribute to the long hours of hard work that has gone into the Kaizen process, and the dedication shown by our staff to ensuring the best quality healthcare is on offer to patients.
"While we are not a business, we need to learn from the private sector and other international healthcare organisations about the best ways to implement lasting positive changes. This education process has helped us provide the most efficient and effective healthcare system we can."

Some of the benefits offered by NHS Lothian's Kaizen work, will include CT waiting times being reduced from a maximum of 21 weeks to an initial six weeks, and then to two weeks, by December 2007 across all NHS Lothian sites; and a reduction in the maximum wait for colonoscopy from 29 to nine weeks by September 2007, by increasing the number of colonoscopies offered by 15 per week.

The HR Excellence Awards take place at The Dorchester, Park Lane, London, on Monday, 2nd July.