HUGE financial savings have been made at Shropshire’s two acute hospitals thanks to a partnership with Amercia’s ‘Hospital of the Decade’.

Now three years into the partnership with the Virginia Mason Institute (VMI) in Seattle, the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) has said it is reaping the rewards of its own Transforming Care Production System (TCPS) with the procurement team making savings of £1.8 million in the last financial year.

Paula Davies, head of procurement at SaTH, who has passed her Lean for Leaders and her Advanced Lean Training as part of the Trust’s development plan, said: “To have saved such a significant amount of money, which can now be put into improving patient care, is an amazing achievement.

"I wish we had started the process years ago as it is radically improving the way we deliver healthcare to patients in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales.”

The TCPS encourages staff to use lean methodology to make improvements on a daily basis. Specialist advice and support from the Trust’s Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO) team is available to teach the concepts of mistake-proofing, waste reduction, 5S (maintaining a safe and efficient environment) and communication huddles.

The savings have been achieved by using lean methodology to help reduce waste and reduce the value of stock held in store rooms.

By introducing standard work it has reduced transport costs, removed unnecessary and time consuming jobs and, importantly, significantly cut down on wastage.

Ms Davies added: “New operating systems and new ways of working have unleashed hidden potential in our staff. We have itemised all the products that we order and have put the details into a catalogue, much like you would find in a store such as Argos or Screwfix. It’s not rocket science, but it does mean far fewer mistakes are made and clinicians are able to spend more time with patients as opposed to ordering stock for their wards and departments.”

As well as making financial savings SaTH, which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, has made significant improvements to patient care over the past three years by embedding a culture of quality improvement, and a potentially life-saving piece of work done by the Stroke Services Team was recently being nominated for a HSJ Patient Safety Award.

Improvements in other areas, as a result of SaTH’s TCPS, include a two day reduction in the length of a hospital stay for respiratory patients; a sepsis trolley and sepsis boxes to help provide timely treatment for patients who are diagnosed with sepsis and a 60 per cent reduction in the number of A&E patients who do not have a speciality review in 30 minutes of arrival.

Chief executive Simon Wright said: “Since starting in the summer of 2015 we have trained over 2,900 staff and we now have over 800 staff in using the techniques every day.

“Our TCPS work has saved over 3,770 miles a year of clinical staff walking, which equates to approximately 944 hours of time released back for patient care each year, alongside 57,000 safer patient journeys.

“We currently have eight value streams under way, releasing our people to identify and implement the changes necessary to improve care. These are looking at the areas of highest risk facing the Trust and the improvements I hear at the regular report outs and huddles never ceases to impress me.

“Our organisation is taking huge strides forward in clinical leadership and genuine involvement at all levels of the Trust. It’s an exciting time.”