New partnership improves services for NHS Lothian's patients

A pioneering partnership between NHS Lothian and US healthcare experts has already delivered improvements in waiting times and generated savings, speeding up treatment for many patients.

A paper going to the board on Wednesday 23rd May details some of the improvements already delivered by the initiative. The board will be asked to endorse the extension of the work into a new phase.

Cancer scanning waits have been dramatically reduced, while improvements in the processes around releasing patients from hospital has contributed to NHS Lothian achieving the lowest level of patients kept in hospital due to a lack of suitable places to go to since national record keeping began in 2000.

Improved productivity and changes in working practices where the training has been piloted has resulted in dramatic improvements which would have cost over £1.1m through conventional means.

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

"This project has been embraced by our staff who have welcomed the messages of empowerment at the heart of the GE Healthcare's lean management philosophy. By working together with GE consultants, frontline staff were given the time and the tools to rigorously examine their practices and spot for themselves where things could be made faster or more straightforward. This is creating real benefits for our patients."

He added:

"The initiative has delivered long-lasting change in those clinical services involved in pilot work while staff in those areas have been overwhelmingly positive, and the training has provided an excellent platform upon which to develop."

The first phase of the GE work concentrated on two priority areas for NHS Lothian and involved six specific projects in a time span lasting nine months. Improvements and accelerated treatments for patients were delivered in CT scanning, urgent colorectal referrals, and a new patient breast clinic, while delayed discharge projects were medicine of elderly length of stay, bed management, and alternatives to acute admission.

24 May 2007