Hospitals in Wakefield and Leeds adopt Toyota production methods

Hospitals have adopted new ways of working inspired by the Japanese motor industry to reduce waste and speed up patient care.

Martin Barkley, the new chief executive of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust.

Bosses at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust have launched new streamlined working practices based on the Virginia Mason Production System.

Named after a hospital in Seattle, USA, the system uses management methods devised by Toyota to involve staff in deciding how best to reorganise patient care.

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Mid Yorkshire chief executive Martin Barkley said: “It’s based on the premise that staff know best about what needs to change and how to change it. It gets away from the top-down approach to a bottom-up approach.”

Mid Yorkshire chief executive Martin Barkley

Mr Barkley said that after running improvement workshops with its staff, the trust had already slashed the amount of time it was taking to transfer patients at the end of their life out of hospital.

He said: “For people who have chosen not to die in hospital but to go home or to a hospice, it was usually taking 13 days to get that sorted out. Since we held the rapid improvement workshops, for a straight forward patient it takes eight hours and for a complex patent, three days.”

The new system was also speeding up non-medical recruitment at Mid Yorkshire, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals.

Mr Barkley said: “There have been some stunning improvements. It’s about reducing waste and in my experience the biggest waste is time.”

Mid Yorkshire chief executive Martin Barkley

Leeds Teaching Hospitals was already one of five trusts involved in a separate five-year partnership with the Virginia Mason Institute.

Experts from the US institute have been mentoring management teams at English NHS trusts as part of the scheme, set up by NHS Improvement.