Lean is about getting the right things to the right place, at the right time, in the right quantities, while minimising waste and being flexible and open to change[1].

It is an improvement approach, developed by Toyota, to improve flow and eliminate waste.

Application of lean thinking identifies the least wasteful way to provide better, safer healthcare to your patients with no delays.

There are five principles underpinning lean thinking:

1. Specify value
2. Identify the value stream
3. Make the process flow
4. Pull
5. Perfection

Lean is increasingly being applied to healthcare in both the United Kingdom and overseas to:

  • Improve the quality of patient care
  • Improve safety
  • Eliminate delays and reduce length of stay.

Within NHS Elect we offer entry-level training in lean thinking as well as bespoke training for specific challenges. The topics covered include:

  • The origins of lean;
  • Five lean principles;
  • Identifying and eliminating the seven wastes;
  • Value stream mapping and analysis;
  • 5S workplace organisation; and
  • Measuring for improvement.

[1] NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement

Our team help members in the use of lean techniques, either through providing on-site training to local teams or working alongside teams in delivering lean projects to reduce waste and save money.


See our sample workshop agenda


"Everyone found it (workshop) very enjoyable and felt they had some really tangible and useful ideas to take away and capitalise on."
Lawrence Owers, Head of Physiotherapy - St Richard's Hospital Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust