Chris Large, Senior Partner at Global Action Plan, writes about Operation TLC and the six secrets to its success. 

Operation TLC helps hospitals to save energy, save money and make buildings better for people. Since it's development in 2012, the programme has won an HSJ Efficiency Award, been adopted by 12 hospitals and saved £500,000 a year. These are the six steps we take to make change happen and create healing and energy efficient environments for the long term.

1. A champion in every area

Each ward or department's staff, and unique operation procedures, are amended to foster a healing and efficient environment by a champion. Champions lay out and uphold best practice with their teams, track and communicate progress, and escalate any issues. Champions receive short training without leaving their stations.

2. Making wards restful is recognised as important

The majority of staff understand that light, temperature and noise profoundly affect patients' sleep, rest, recovery and need for pain-relief. They also understand such conditions aid colleagues' well-being, calmness and focus. This understanding is created through effective communication of scientific evidence.

3. Tailored action lists to fit each location

Two major considerations determine the best practice for creating restful conditions in each location - the way the building works and the requirements of patients. The Estates Department and lead nurse respectively know the buildings and patients best, and combine to define a tailored action list for each location.

4. Whole site and departmental progress tracked

Success in creating the best setting is checked in each location through a simple 5-minute walk-around. Patient interviews and nurse feedback identifies patient benefits. Sub-metering and light meters track total energy savings.

5. 3-month campaign kickstarts new practices

Best practice is pushed heavily to overcome old habits at the very beginning in one organisation-wide campaign. This includes messages from directors, face to face department visits, agenda item in key meetings (e.g. senior sisters forum), posters and stickers, staff magazines and disruptive comms.

6. Long term embedding through systems and maintenance

The Chief Nurse and Estate Director receive quarterly progress updates. Champions are listened to, thanked and new ones found if a champion leaves. Existing processes such as induction, training, personal objectives, and standing meeting agenda items ensure long-standing focus on Operation TLC. Internal comms share regular successes to maintain appreciation that managing hospital spaces directly affects patient experience.