The programme

Mapping a patients’ in-patient journey shows that the majority of time is spent waiting. Through our Patient Flow programme, we can show that when processes are designed to provide what patients need when they need it, patient satisfaction increases, length of stay reduces and patient flow becomes much easier to manage.

Consequently, pressure on urgent and emergency care improves and hospitals provide themselves with a better opportunity of meeting the four-hour Accident and Emergency (A&E) wait target.

This programme supports hospitals and community-based services to better understand and manage patient flow through hospital. Our Patient Flow programme helps member organisations to reduce hospital length of stay (LOS) and Emergency Department (ED) waits.


Managing demand in hospital is today’s burning platform. This programme supports acute hospitals within the region to cope with the demand today, sustainably and safely.

Patient flow is a priority for many hospitals. Rapid access to a hospital bed is important for the safety of sick patients. Meeting daily demand for admissions is a challenge faced by all NHS organisations with an inpatient bed base. When patients are waiting longer than four hours for a bed, achievement of the A&E wait target is put at risk.

How are we helping?

The programme works with front-line teams and senior managers from across sites to bring everyone together in identifying the problems and solutions around patient flow. A series of operational management tools (including Timed Action Plan for Patients – TAPPs) is used to bring data to life and turn it into action. Building on proven behaviour change approaches, we support teams to learn what works and turn theory into practice in ways that work for them and their organisation.

As part of this programme we will support members by providing:

  • Experienced project management to guide and facilitate organisations in their learning and implementation of patient flow tools.
  • The analytical skills to evaluate both results and the learning from this project so that other hospitals can take steps to address their patient flow issues.
  • Hosted roundtable events to spread the learning from our experiences.

Our impact to date

Building on the learning and our experience of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, which demonstrated a 30 per cent reduction in length of stay on medical wards, we are now working with members to systematically introduce the same tools into their location.

  • Scarborough Hospital showed a 20 per cent reduction in length of stay in a number of areas
  • As we spread the programme, three Hackathons have been hosted in Hull, Sheffield and Bradford. These Hackathons have kick started local projects aimed at improving patient flow
  • Following the Hackathon in Hull, and using behaviour changes approaches, our learning at Scarborough has helped one ward achieve a 29 per cent reduction in length of stay through implementing TAPPs. The ward has also seen a 40 per cent increase in the number of admissions and discharges

Next Steps

As part of this programme we will:

  • Use a collaborative approach with the participation of over 250 frontline clinicians and senior managers from across the region in Flow learning events
  • Help participating organisations understanding the reasons for delays in their hospital and have mechanisms in place to deal with them effectively.
  • Support wider and sustainable spread through a rigorous and supported ‘train the trainer’ approach. The exciting synergy with other programmes will be fully exploited to support the delivery of safer and more efficient care, and to enhance the value of this work programme for member organisations.

Click here for more information on the Improvement Academy’s work in this area.