NHS TDA launches ground-breaking programme with top US hospital to transform care for NHS patients

Five NHS trusts are set to benefit from the influence of internationally acclaimed healthcare experts as part of a new initiative launched by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the NHS Trust Development Authority today.

The USA’s ‘Hospital of the Decade’ will mentor five NHS hospital trusts in an ambitious improvement programme.

The initiative will involve the renowned Virginia Mason Institute in the USA partnering with: University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust; The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust; Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust; The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

As part of the trailblazing move to make the NHS one of the world’s greatest learning organisations, clinicians and leaders from the Virginia Mason Institute will teach NHS doctors and nurses the principles and systems that made it so successful.

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, said:

“I want to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world, powered by a culture of learning and continuous improvement.

“The achievements at Virginia Mason over the past decade are truly inspirational and I’m delighted they will now help NHS staff to learn the lessons that made their hospital one of the safest in the world – patients will see real benefits as a result.”

Bob Alexander, Chief Executive of the NHS TDA, said:

“Since the NHS TDA began, we have focused on helping organisations to improve. The Virginia Mason approach concentrates on ensuring each and every patient gets the safest, best quality care every time. Virginia Mason have demonstrated over the last decade that by getting the quality of care right for each patient this improves productivity and lowers cost through reducing waste.

“Through this partnership, five NHS Trusts will eliminate waste and concentrate on the things that add real value for patients and staff, leading to better, safer, more efficient care.  They will lead the way in bringing some of the most innovative ways of working from one of the safest hospitals in the world into the NHS.”

After creating and implementing the Virginia Mason Production System, nurses were able to spend more time with their patients. Virginia Mason estimated that on average nurses spent about 35 percent of their time in direct patient care. After transforming its systems this increased to 90 percent.

Their approach is centred on enabling doctors and nurses to monitor patients and quickly attend to their needs. For example, the most commonly used supplies for each department were moved to patient rooms so nurses reduced walking back and forth to get them. Steps walked per day fell from 10,000 to roughly 1,200. They also developed innovative electronic dashboards to remind clinicians to address specific issues, for example to undertake a quality review for every critical care patient.

Staff from the Virginia Mason Institute will spend time in the five Trusts over the course of the next five years helping the doctors, nurses and leaders figure out how they can improve using the tools developed in Seattle.

The programme will run over five years and set five NHS trusts on the road to becoming leading healthcare institutions, at the same time sharing learning and benefitting the NHS as a whole.

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