Patients benefit from Staff ideas

The Lean in Lothian programme has already cut delays in CT scanning and improved the way in which older people are supported in leaving hospital.

Now other areas of NHS Lothian are benefiting from the lessons learned in the first phase of the programme.

The principles have now been applied to areas as diverse as Lothian’s leading psychiatric hospital and the Hospital Sterilisation and Decontamination Unit, which ensures all surgical equipment is clean and safe to use.

At the HSDU, staff made improvements saving a total of 21 hours staff time each day, a paper going to the NHS Lothian board today (Wed) reports.

At the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, new roles are being piloted to improve the experience of patients. These include the appointment of housekeepers and discharge co-ordinators to release nurse time and allow patients to be better supported.

The Lean in Lothian programme trains staff in how to spot opportunities for change and gives them the power to deliver improvements for patients.

Other changes are being made in administration processes such as booking outpatient appointments for routine care, While it is too early to assess their impact, referrals are now received from GPs and other referring agencies, sorted, assessed in terms of their importance, with the person involved being given an appointment on the same day.

Jackie Sansbury, Director of Strategic Planning, NHS Lothian, said:

“Our staff are the people who know their own jobs better than anyone else, and they’re the best people to make improvements which last. They’ve come up with brilliant ideas which will create real benefits for patients.
”Lean in Lothian was created in partnership with the US industrial giant GE’s healthcare division, known as GE Healthcare and involves training front-line staff in the principles of so-called lean management.