Aster was engaged in late 2009 to provide basic lean training to a number of key staff from NHS Gloucestershire. Following the training programme a project team made up of delegates from the training programme was put together as part of their QIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) programme with the aim of helping NHS Gloucestershire improve its back office service delivery processes.

Ruth Thomas, Assistant Director HR, Corporate Learning and Development takes up the story.

"Following a strategic review at NHS Gloucestershire we decided that we needed to focus on how we do things if we were to make the time and cost savings required to satisfy targets we had set ourselves as part of our internal QIPP programme and the targets set by national government. We knew that in other parts of the country other NHS organisations has used lean very effectively and we wanted to learn whether it was going to be the vehicle by which we could change our work processes to work smarter for the future.

After looking around at our options we chose Aster Training because of their proven credentials in the public sector. We attended an initial training programme delivered by Aster and we then put together a team to look at one of our service delivery processes. After advice from Aster we selected a pilot which would impact upon a large number of staff at our site in Gloucester and was also reasonably easy to implement. We consulted with staff via a pre-improvement questionnaire we devised and took on board their valuable feedback regarding how we could improve this particular process.

Aster showed us how to map the current state of our chosen process and they also provided us with a systematic plan detailing how to get to the future state. After a comprehensive test phase where we got a number of users of the current process  to see if they could 'break' the planned future state process we intend to launch the new way of working in September 2010. It is anticipated that we will reduce the time it takes to carry out the process we reviewed by as much as 85% allowing our staff to focus on more value adding work.

We are really pleased with the success of this project; our team of lean champions are completely enthused by the skills they have learned and their ease of application. Given that lean was initially developed within the manufacturing industry we were concerned it might not translate easily to an NHS setting but this concern has been proven groundless. Due to Asters thorough and patient support we have been able to apply the techniques very effectively. This is now just the start and we are keen to roll the lean programme out across the organisation via a series of cross functional projects.

Aster played a key role in setting us on the road to improvement and I would thoroughly recommend them to other public sector organisations looking to reduce costs in a structured and considered way".

 

This is a case study about Lean in the NHS. Aster is experienced at facilitating lean projects within the NHS, the service sector and public sector organisations in general. Should you require more information about how Aster can help your organisation achieve its lean objectives, contact us onenquiries@aster-training.co.uk