Theory of Constraints for Patient Flow Course

19th October - 19th October
One-day online

One-day online course.
Date: 19/10/23

Theory of Constraints (TOC) for Patient Flow Course

TOC provides a practical means of managing flow in complex systems that has proved to be very effective in a wide range of patient flow environments. TOC enables rapid improvements in lead time by exploiting the system leverage points to manage the variability and uncertainty. TOC as a theory also provides means of explaining how and why it works best in certain environments relative to other flow management approaches such as lean/TPS.

If you want to understand why this is possible and how to achieve a sustained breakthrough then this course is for you. This training looks across the whole healthcare system.

Outline of the content:

  • Understanding the importance of managing patient flow in improving quality of care, access to care, length of stay and financial affordability of care.
  • Understanding healthcare systems as seemingly complex environments of emerging dependent events and statistical fluctuations often skewed in nature. The implications for planning and improving these systems.
  • Explaining how the TOC approach compliments other flow management approaches.
  • A detailed explanation of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) and how it can achieve a breakthrough in performance for acute, care, community care and mental health environments in a remarkably short timescale.
  • How to carry out an analysis of a healthcare system and rapidly identify the few underlying constraints impacting the performance of the system and the necessary and sufficient TOC based actions to rapidly improve patient flow.
  • Understanding how to apply ‘time buffer management’ to healthcare systems and its use to improve flow and focus improvement efforts on the few key underlying constraints.
  • Understanding the key measures in managing and improving flow and how to implement them.
  • The role of software in improving and managing patient flow.

The learning outcomes:

On completing the session you will be able to:

  • Carry out an initial analysis of your healthcare system, hospital, or stream of care and identify the few key actions required to achieve a rapid and sustained improvement in performance.
  • Implement a simple buffer management system to help improve patient flow and focus improvement efforts.
  • Lead a focussed process of ongoing improvement in your own healthcare system.
  • Provide clinical and management leadership with the direction and insight you need to achieve a breakthrough in performance.

Course description:

The program will consist of a combination of presentations, educational simulations, case studies and discussion. This will allow participants to actively engage in exploring how the approaches can be implemented in their own setting.


There are no formal prerequisites although the participants will be guided to read ‘Pride and Joy’ by Alex Knight and will be expected to either have a management/director/clinical leader role in a healthcare system or be involved in analysis and/or performance improvement of such systems. It is also suitable for people leading operational change in such systems.


Dr Roy Stratton

Your Educator/Trainer: Dr Roy Stratton

Roy is an Associate Professor in Operations and Supply Chain Management at Nottingham Trent University, UK.

His research, practice and teaching is focused on managing complex flows and positioning TOC in the content of wider applications, such as lean management. He has been directly involved in interpreting how TOC provides a focused approach to health and social care management, and has co-designed and delivered an international part time MSc in TOC (health and social care) with Alex Knight and QFI consulting, who led this intervention worldwide.

He is actively involved with the professional body ‘TOC – International Certification Organisation’, where he has recently been a Director and currently Chair of the Body of Knowledge Committee.


This course is free and available to anyone working in the Midlands public health and care sector, e.g. NHS, public health, local authority, ICBs health and care

Duration and start date
One day course


  • 19/10/23 (09.30 – 16.30)


Registration: Please register via the online form below.

For more information about this course, please contact:

Training & Development Operational Lead, Rachel Caswell