Pioneering staff training pays off again for NHS Lothian

Staff have made improvements in colorectal cancer care, delivering treatment for 98% of patients swiftly, while dramatic gains have been made in providing wheelchairs quickly to adult users.

The Lean in Lothian programme, launched in 2006, gives frontline staff the time, training and management backing to make changes in how they do things.

The board of NHS Lothian will discuss the achievements made by Lothian staff in the programme's third year at its meeting on Wednesday, 27th May.

Other highlights of 2008/09 include changes to the processes around booking operating theatres, increasing the number of hand surgery operations that can be performed by 110 cases a year. Alterations to the way outpatients are dealt with have also made the process of getting the appropriate treatment much faster.

Professor James Barbour, Chief Executive, NHS Lothian, said:

 "Our Lean in Lothian programme is continuing to deliver excellent benefits for our patients. We have learned a tremendous amount about what our staff can do when they are empowered and trusted to make changes and we'll be building on these skills in the next few years to continue to make things better for the people we serve."

Lean in Lothian was first developed as a partnership between NHS Lothian and the international health consultancy GE Healthcare.

GE Healthcare's role was to help train NHS Lothian staff in the skills needed to deliver successful change, with those first groups of NHS Lothian staff then training others.

Libby Tait, Associate Director, Modernisation, NHS Lothian, said:

"We are now at the stage where we are self-sufficient in our training in lean tools and techniques, and, as planned, need less input from GE Healthcare. We're now bringing the benefits of this approach to other important areas of our work, such as the project to build a new hospital for children and young people."

Achievements in previous years include the acceleration of access to CT scanning and the creation of a one-stop clinic approach for women with breast cancer.

The programme has been shortlisted for the influential HR Excellence Awards.