Lean National Health System

A presentation today, Lean Thinking For the NHS, by Dan Jones is getting press coverage in England.NHS should embrace lean times:

The improvements came through examining the patient’s whole experience, and removing the sometimes-fatal delays in getting them into the operating theatre, such as creating a faster process for radiology and removing unnecessary paperwork.These changes also lessen staff frustrations by allowing them to spend more time helping patients. Also, by cutting length of stay and complications, costs should also start to fall, although Mr Fillingham – former director of the NHS Modernisation Agency – said it will take several years for the savings to become substantial.


This is an example of focusing on improving the system which will then result in improved measures (cost savings for example). This systems approach contrasts with cutting costs by cutting every budget by 5% across the board which often fails. Without improvements in the system reducing budgets just reduces capability.

NHS ‘should copy Tesco’ to boost efficiency by Elsa McLaren (Times Online – UK):

“Every one organisation, public and private, has major problems with waste and inefficiency,” she said. “The NHS can learn from the latest thinking as adopted by the Royal Navy, RAF, Tesco and Toyota.”Bolton Hospitals NHS Trust has been using the method and has seen a reduction of one third in death rates for hip operation patients. The trust has also reduced paperwork in trauma units by 42 per cent, and had a 50 per cent reduction in the amount of space needed by the pathology laboratory.

Making the NHS into a lean machine by Nick Triggle, BBC News.

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