Government announces US ‘hospital of the decade’ to mentor Leeds hospitals in bid to improve care

Jeremy Hunt.
Jeremy Hunt.
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An American hospital, which is regarded as one of the safest in the world, is set to mentor hospitals in Leeds in a bid to improve care.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTH) has been revealed today as one of only five trusts nationwide set to benefit from the development programme led by internationally acclaimed experts from the Virginia Mason Institute in Seattle, Washington.

Over the next five years staff from the USA’s ‘hospital of the decade’ will mentor clinical and management teams on some of the core principles that have made it successful and awarded for its excellent, safe care.

After creating and implementing the Virginia Mason Production System it is estimated US nurses spent on average about 90 per cent of their time directly caring for patients – up from 35 per cent before it was introduced.

Based on allowing staff to monitor patients quickly, it saw commonly used supplies for each department moved closer to patients’ rooms to cut the number of steps walked per day by nurses from 10,000 steps to just 1,200.

Julian Hartley, chief executive of LTH, hopes the programme will help hospitals in Leeds become a leading health care institution in England.

He said: “I am certain that being part of this five year development programme will be of huge benefit to our patients through the service improvements and increased efficiency that we will be able to deliver as a result.

“It will help us to achieve our vision of being the best for specialist and integrated care so that we will become one of the leading health care institutions in the country.”

Virginia Mason, which boasts a 336-bed acute care hospital, was the first health body to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste, lower cost, and improve quality and patient safety.

Through the system it also pioneered innovative electronic dashboards to remind clinicians to address specific patient issues.

The development programme is led by the NHS Trust Development Authority and will mean that patients here can benefit from the American institute’s systems.

Announcing the programme, Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, said patients will see “real benefits” from the five year project.

He added: “I want to make the NHS the safest health care system in the world, powered by a culture of learning and continuous improvement.”

Meanwhile Bob Alexander, chief executive of the NHS Trust Development Authority, described the announcement as “great news for Leeds” as it will be one of five trusts to eliminate waste and concentrate on “things that add real value for patients and staff”.

He added: “They will lead the way in bringing some of the most innovative ways of working from one of the safest hospitals in the world into the NHS.”