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How the 'Perfect Week' drives significant productivity improvements

Those of you working in the NHS will no doubt be familiar with the 'Perfect Week' approach used by many Acute Trusts to turbo charge discharges. In essence, the week long approach mobilises key staff including senior executives, consultants and nurses to work together to 'unblock' issues using a Bronze, Silver, Gold command structure that escalates issues and resolves problems within a number of hours as opposed to the days, weeks or months that can typically elapse before patients can be safely discharged to their own homes or alternative accommodation, thus creating capacity for more unwell patients to be admitted and treated.


Over the past five months I've been very fortunate to work with a large Mental Health Trust using a 'Perfect Week' approach. The teams we've worked with demonstrated great creativity to deliver an average 27% increase in discharge rates across 5 different areas with one area recording a 75% increase over their historical base performance during the week.


Critics of the approach typically sight the difficulty of sustaining improvement post the 'Perfect Week' and hands-on senior involvement. I take a different approach. The act of committing to a 'Perfect Week' approach stresses existing operating processes to the maximum, to the extent that all the key problems come to the surface within 24-48 hours. Problems with management structures. staff availability, plus those all important relationships with external bodies are laid bare for all to see. If such issues can be effectively addressed and staff trained to adopt a 'Perfect Week' mindset, there is no doubt that significant ongoing improvements can be made.


Reflecting upon my experiences there would appear to be no reason why such an approach could not be extended outside of the NHS to organisations that suffer significant backlogs in an effort to increase operational flow and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.


Lawrie Catt


"Helping ambitious leaders deliver phenomenal transformational improvement"




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