By Rachael Davies, Continuous Improvement and Development Manager with CLIC

At this time of year our thoughts often turn to getting things sorted, we make plans for what we would like to achieve this year whether it is a resolution to be healthier, wealthier, and happier, we set goals to achieve an improved version of me. For some of us our resolution is to be more organised, consume less and create less waste to protect this lovely planet of ours. We can also do this at work.

This year for a lot of staff working in support services we will be changing our working environment. This provides an opportunity to take stock of what materials / resources we have stored up over the years and identify what we need moving forward. The good news is that there is a tool that can help us to do this, 5S Workplace Organisation is part of the Cumbria Production System (CPS) Toolkit it enables the identification of value and waste and to create a working environment that supports effective time management and use of resources.

So let’s plan what to move and where to put it when we get to our new destination...

The 5S approach is a structured process which involves five key steps to create an ideal work environment for you and your team; sort, simplify, sweep, standardize, sustain. Safety is considered at all of the five key steps to ensure that people and the work area are safe. The implementation of the 5S approach helps create a working environment where things are easy to find and there is room to store everything you need, exactly where you need it. Importantly the implementation of the 5S approach helps create order, reduces waste and maximises safety.

Beginning with the first S – sort using a three colour post it system the participants decide what they want to keep (green post-it), place in storage (amber post-it) and get rid of (red post-it).

The second S – simplify requires the team to work together to decide on where items are going to be kept. The aim of this is to ensure that every item within the workplace has a place.

The third S – sweep visually and physically keeping the workplace clean and clutter free.

The forth S – standardise agree on what needs to be done to maintain an orderly, clean and functional work area.

The fifth S – sustain everyone in the team must take ownership of maintaining the workplace as agreed. Checks are carried out so 5S becomes part of the everyday routine.

If you follow these steps you will:

  • Reduce time spent on searching for things/information
  • Make better use of time
  • Identify issues/problems before they happen
  • Provide a foundation for future improvements
  • Take control of your work environment so that it is properly set up to support you
  • Put a system in place to ensure that everyone understands the standards set as a team and that those standards are not only maintained but continually improved
  • Support your team to take responsibility and ownership of their working environment, creating feelings of empowerment in their roles

Find out more about 5S in the CPS Toolkit.

Below is a short 5S video. The video uses the terminology of ‘set in order’ for the 2nd step of simplify, and ‘sweep’ for the 3rd step we refer to as shine - please be assured that this is just a different way of labelling the same activity:

If you would like to have a conversation regarding how you can apply this tool please contact us: 

Happy New Year! 

If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution that you can action today, look no further as you’re in luck. If you want to get fully up-to-date with the latest clinical evidence and guidance, then book a spot on our GP Update Course! 

Delivered by Red Whale, the course is developed and presented by GPs who understand the day-to-day reality of general practice. The course offers lots of practical tips and techniques for you to take away and implement immediately.

Saturday 1st February 2020

Time: 9.30am - 4pm

Location: Lecture Theatre, Education Centre, Cumberland Infirmary, Infirmary Street, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA2 7HY

Price: £135 (£70 for trainees)

Book your place now on our dedicated GP Update (Cohort 12) event page.

Innovation in Education Category, Sponsored by Health Education England North East

1st place - Development of Integrated Competency Hubs – Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

During clinical skills workshops, it became apparent that community-based staff were struggling with clinical skills training due to the geography and infrastructure of the Cumbria region, which often results in long journey times between community work bases and the two acute hospitals. In response to this, Integrated Competency Hubs have been developed, with Hub Co-coordinators matching the skills required by the community-based staff member with the relevant patient attending for treatment. In this way, staff have accessible provision for maintaining competency, which improves staff wellbeing and ultimately improves the patient experience.

The Innovators:

Debra Sargent, Clinical Education and Workplace Learning Facilitator

Sue Harper, Clinical Education

Sheena Bleasdale, Clinical Manager

Jen Riera, Ward Sister, Maryport Hospital

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

By Ruth Parker, Improvement and Development Practitioner with CLIC

The merger in October 2019 of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and North Cumbria University Hospital Trust (NCUHT) brought together the Patient Experience team from (CPFT), Patient Advice and Liaison Service and Complaints from (NCUHT) into one team. 

Alison Budd Director of Nursing and Quality suggested a Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW) would be a great opportunity for the 3 teams to work together to develop and better system of working to improve the service to patients their family and carers. The RPIW week would be supported by CLIC.

The week of 18th October began with a full day of training, to equipped the team members with all the tools they needed to make real and lasting change. 

Trust staff rallied to support the week with encouragement and assistance coming from clinical staff, consultants, matrons, allied health professionals and nursing staff who were keen to help our team develop a new way to work.

Patient representative Sue Gallagher, contributed invaluable knowledge from a patient’s perspective.

The week was supported by Nikki Bridson, Business Manager, Quality and Nursing who offered ‘outside eyes’ and kept the focus for us all. 

We looked at how the teams currently work and how they would like to work in the future. They suggested 69 ideas for improvement and wrote 24 A3 project plans to make changes. The team have identified who will work on each of the A3 project plans and now come together once per week for 10 minutes to demonstrate progress.

One of the first tasks the team undertook was to re-write the letters which are sent to patients on the receipt of a complaint. Sue was able to give assistance in this, making the letters seem less formal and helping by suggesting what about the process would be key for patients and families.

A smaller group worked together with Liz Klein to redesigned a process to resolve issues for patients at the bedside, with a clear escalation to someone who would assist in resolving issues early.

The team is developing a communications strategy to improve its visibility in the trust and to encourage patients to make any concerns known, in line with the new focus on all staff being able to resolve issues locally.


The RPIW brought the 3 teams together and they quickly left their old organisational ties behind to begin working closely on taking the best from both organisations, bringing in some new ideas.

The RPIW week was the beginning of the improvement journey. CLIC will continue to support the team over the next 30, 60, 90 days to make the exciting changes identified during the week become a reality, improving the care for patients and job satisfaction for staff.


If you would like more information on a RPIW with the CLIC team, please contact: 

For more information on A3s and other improvement tools, please go to the Cumbria Production System Toolkit.


"The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the world's most popular personality assessment, found in 79% of the FTSE 100. It provides a robust foundation for life-long personal development, using a constructive, flexible and liberating framework for understanding individual differences and strengths.

MBTI insights reveal how we see and interact with the world, our motivations and the motivations of others. This creates a strong foundation for personal growth and development, underpinning enhanced personal effectiveness."

OPP, 2014

Some of you will have explored your personality preferences in an MBTI Feedback Session with CLIC, and for those of you that have, we are pleased to announce that we have set-up an online community where we can share information, resources, and hold online discussions: (please note that you will need to have an account on the CLIC website and be signed-in in order to access the community).

If you have any questions about MBTI, why not post these in the community, or alternatively you can contact the CLIC Team at