Support for a paediatric healthcare service using Lean principles

The BMJ – The British Medical Journal  June 24th 2022

2022:  /bmjoq-2022-001914

As part of COVID-19 recovery, a hospital trust in northern England used the Lean systematic improvement approach
to recover the waiting list of a paediatric service to preCOVID levels. The intervention strategy used a massive open-online-course (Lean Fundamentals) to support
the improvement project lead to follow a structured improvement routine to apply Lean improvement
Over a period of 8 weeks, the project reduced the waiting list from 1109 to 212. Waiting times were reduced from a maximum of 36 months to a 70-day average.
Lean is often described in terms of increasing process efficiency and productivity. It is not often associated
with staff benefits. However, when seen in the context of unburdening staff to deliver patient care, Lean has
potential to support the recovery of both staff and services. Lean Fundamentals, with its accessible massiveonline design, may provide a means of supporting such
improvement at scale.

By acknowledging that staff were overburdened by the requirements of COVID-19 and that patients were stuck
in a system of disconnected processes, administrative activities were redesigned around an ethos of
compassionate communication that put patients first.

NHS Healthcare Lean waiting times