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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Horton consultant visits BMW MINI plant

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A consultant from the Horton General Hospital in Banbury visited the BMW MINI plant in Oxford to learn how to improve his work.

Dr Steven Webster-Edge was invited by the German car manufacturer after hearing about his interest in Lean methodology.

Lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources. The methodology was developed in the car industry and started in the 50s and 60s with Toyota. The entire automotive industry followed suit because of their success.

In a medical setting, Lean is a set of operating philosophies and methods that create maximum value for patients by reducing waste and waiting times. It emphasises patients’ needs, employee involvement and continuous improvement.

“I first saw Lean in medicine being introduced to the John Radcliffe hospital by Unipart twelve years ago, when I was still a trainee,” says Dr Webster-Edge.

“Since returning to the Trust seven years ago I've been carrying out multiple Lean projects with varying success, such as colour coding drug trays and organising drug cupboards into drug categories to reduce drug errors. Over the last two years I've been teaching Lean to others.”

Dr Webster-Edge was invited to the Mini plant by Tim Coleman - a Group leader at the Mini plant and the husband of one of Dr Webster-Edge's trainees.

“Our visit focused on BMW’s organisational structure, introduction of innovation, efficiency, communication, and safety. I’m interested in all of these things in order to improve my area of work at the Horton General. 

“They gave us a brilliant presentation on their methods and then a tour of some of their innovations and ongoing experiments. It was an eye opener for my trainees.”

Dr Webster-Edge now wants to return the favour and has invited BMW to visit the Horton to showcase some of the new ideas and projects he is working on.