Theory of Constraints for Patient Flow Course

Dates to follow

Theory of Constraints for Patient Flow Course

It is traditionally difficult to achieve a breakthrough in performance in a healthcare system and all the more so in a rapid timescale. This session will enable you to lead and deliver a sustainable breakthrough in performance on patient flow in a remarkably short time scale. If you want to understand why this is possible and how to achieve such a sustained breakthrough then this program 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.
  • 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 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.


Your Trainer: Roy Stratton

The course will be led by Roy Stratton who is considered as the leading authority in the application of TOC.

Dr Roy Stratton is based in the UK and is a Reader in Operations and Supply Chain Management at Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University, where he is actively involved in TOC related teaching, research and consultancy. He is the Director of studies of a number of TOC based doctoral students and the Programme Manager of a portfolio of part time TOC based MSc courses delivered in collaboration with QFI Consulting. Previously, Roy worked for Rolls Royce Aero Engines in an internal consultancy role and has since been actively involved in a wide range of industry-based and government funded knowledge transfer research projects. He has published widely in both professional and academic journals and has co-authored two educational books.

Roy is a chartered Engineer (F.I.Mech.E.) and has been awarded a BSc in Mechanical Engineering (Nottingham), an MSc in Manufacturing System Engineering (Warwick), and a PhD in Supply Chain Management (Nottingham Trent). He is certified in all TOC ICO fields and joint Chair of the TOC ICO healthcare SIG.


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


  • Dates TBC (09.30 – 16.30)


Registration now closed.

For more information about this course, please contact:

Training & Development Operational Lead, Rachel Caswell