Research Output

Lean Six-Sigma: the means to healing an ailing NHS?

  Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine England’s Accident and Emergency (A&E) arm of the National Health Service (NHS). It considers the positive impact that Lean has had and Six-Sigma can have in A&E departments to improve the quality and reliability of the service offered, in an area that is facing performance challenges.
Design/methodology/approach – Independent variables average monthly temperature data (degrees Celsius) obtained from the Met Office and weekly A&E data, patient volume is analysed alongside the dependent variable, the percentage of patients seen in 4 h or less.
Findings – The model produced a robust positive impact when Lean Six-Sigma is adopted, increasing the likelihood of A&E dependents meeting their performance objective to see and treat patients in 4 h or less.
Research limitations/implications – Further variables such as staffing levels, A&E admission type should be considered in future studies. Additionally, it would add further clarity to analyse hospitals and trusts individually, to gauge which are struggling.
Practical implications – Should the NHS further its understanding and adoption of Lean Six-Sigma, it is believed this could have significant improvements in productivity, patient care and cost reduction.
Social implications – Productivity improvements will allow the NHS to do more with an equal amount of funding, therefore improving capacity and patient care.
Originality/value – Through observing A&E and its ability to treat patients in a timely fashion it is clear the NHS is struggling to meet its performance objectives, the recommendation

  • Type:


  • Date:

    01 October 2018

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  • Library of Congress:

    HD28 Management. Industrial Management

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    658 General management

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Bancroft, J., Saha, K., Li, D., Lukacs, G., & Pierron, X. (2018). Lean Six-Sigma: the means to healing an ailing NHS?. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 35(9), 1976-1988.



Performance, Six-Sigma, Healthcare, Quality, Productivity,

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