Lean in healthcare: quality improvement to deliver better care

An event for those in the NHS who are implementing lean, or who are considering their improvement approach.

The case for NHS trusts adopting a recognised approach to quality improvement is clear and is now an expectation of of CQC and NHS Improvement’s joint well-led framework well-led framework as well as a key theme of Developing People - Improving Care.

A number of NHS organisations are now employing lean as their improvement approach and so our knowledge of this in the NHS is increasing. We know that under the right conditions and done properly lean can have a positive impact on patient care.

On 17 May, this national conference offered delegates the chance to hear directly from senior healthcare leaders, from the UK and abroad, on the opportunities and challenges of embarking on a lean journey.


The conference was chaired by Adam Sewell-Jones, Executive Director for Improvement at NHS Improvement and we were delighted to be joined by renowned international experts: 

  • Dr John Toussaint, CEO, Catalysis
  • Sarah Patterson, Executive Director at Virginia Mason Institute

We also heard from a range of senior NHS leaders who shared their experiences of implementing lean management systems within their organisations, including:

  • Julian Hartley, Chief Executive Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Elaine Mead, Chief Executive, NHS Highlands


Over the course of the day there were 10 workshops to choose from, with topical and practical examples and experiences shared by speakers from a broad spectrum including NHS trusts, national specialists and industry lean experts. These included, amongst others, sessions on:

  • NHS Improvement’s new lean cohort
  • Learning from industry
  • Making better use of data
  • Culture and staff engagement
  • Patient participation in improvement activity
  • Lean and digital technology
  • Dignity by design

The conference will closed with an expert panel where delegates were able to engage in a discussion about the challenges and opportunities of implementing a lean management system.

This event was for NHS chief executives and executive directors from trusts who are already implementing lean as well as those who may be considering their improvement approach.

You can find slides from the event below:

Morning key note session

Morning breakout sessions

Afternoon key note session

Afternoon breakout sessions

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