I have spent the last 13 years working to improve quality in the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. This has included leading, in Liverpool, some of the pilot lean work in the NHS, which led to the development of ‘The Productive Ward’. For five years, I led the first experiment of full organisational rollout of lean healthcare in the NHS, in Bolton, through the Bolton Improving Care System (BICS), delivering best possible care for patients. I have also led improvement work nationally across England and North Wales in the NHS Blood and Transplant service which contributed to reduced cost per unit and reduced defects, reducing costs for hospitals and allowing these savings to be re-invested in patient care. I now work in a national role developing improvement capability in the NHS, in NHS Improvement, particularly with a focus on the national lean programme working with partners in Lancashire.
I am an manufacturing systems engineer (sometimes also called a production engineer or industrial engineer or even in Europe, a management engineer), with over 23 years experience. My undergraduate Master of Engineering degree included some seminars on newfangled Japanese manufacturing methods, or what we might now call Kaizen or Lean or QI. I was hooked.
Before healthcare, I worked in the petrochemicals, chemicals and life sciences industry globally (Europe, US and Asia), supporting teams to improve, in much the same way that we do in healthcare. I qualified as a Chartered Engineer with the Institute of Engineering and Technology from the end of 2003 (and I am professionally registered with the Engineering Council). I also hold a Masters in Leadership (Quality improvement) from Ashridge Business School and a PhD in Business and Management from the University of Manchester. I now hold an honorary Lecturer post in the Business School where I tend to support the Doctoral programme for Clinical Scientists. I am also a multi-academy schools Trust board member for a group of schools in Bolton where I live, and a mother of two.
I am a Health Foundation Fellow (Generation Q) and Improvement Science PhD alumni, as well as being a member of the Q community. My PhD was supervised by Professor Kieran Walshe and Professor Ruth Boaden. My PhD was funded by the Health Foundation, a UK based healthcare charity. My qualitative research examined how improvement capability is conceptualised by regulatory agencies and scrutiny bodies in healthcare in the UK and takes a dynamic capabilities theoretical perspective.
The work I have been privileged to be involved in has led to many quality improvements for patients and stakeholders including reduced mortality, reduced hospital length of stay, reduced harm (through falls and infections) and improved patient experience using co-design approaches. Some improvement work, also didn’t ‘work’, for which I am grateful for the learning experiences.
I am very interested in healthcare quality improvement and believe that all staff and patients in all parts of the healthcare system should have a voice and the time and skills to help improve care for all. I use this blog to practice writing and communicating about healthcare quality issues and about lean healthcare. I might write a load of rubbish, and I welcome constructive feedback.
This blog is personal, it represents my views, and does not represent the views of my employer.
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