St George’s Health Service is a division of Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Health Service. They provide services including inpatient care, evaluation and management, residential aged care, rehabilitation, acute psychiatry and more.

Project statistics

Project challenge

St George’s Health Service sought a standardised bedside handover process that would reduce duplicating information, include patients in new bedside handovers and return valuable time to nursing staff for clinical care. Its focus was to reduce wasted time which would be redirected to the bedside, achieve 10 per cent patient inclusion in bedside handovers and meet seven requirements of National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standard 6, along with National Standard 2: Partnering with Consumers.


Melbourne, Victoria


The project team needed to implement several steps to identify current processes, timing and costs. They also needed to conduct patient and staff focus groups to establish real life expectations and how to manage those expectations in day-to-day care.


Vative’s Health Division introduced Lean Six Sigma thinking and methodology in the development of new processes for St George’s Health Service. Staff participated in a 10-month Lean improvement program, with all achieving Lean certificates or diplomas following competency-based training.


St George’s Health Service has emerged as a more efficient and patient-focused health service following a year-long Lean program with Vative. The health service achieved:

  • Reduced patient handover time from 100 minutes to 40 minutes per unit per shift
  • 2190 hours per year or 1.67 full time worker equivalent redirected back to patient care
  • 100 per cent of patients included in handover at their discretion

The project also marked vast improvements on morale and culture within St Geroge’s Health Service.


Vative showed St George’s Health Service the value of involving staff and patients in identifying problems and barriers to achieving the best solutions. The health service learned the benefit of Lean methodology tools along with structured training to support their staff through any change process for future planning.

“My advice to anyone considering Vative would be to go ahead. The results were all positive, people are still talking about it – what was agreed to and offered, was delivered.” – Maryanne Welch, General Manager, Mental Health and Aged Care Services, St Vincent’s Hospital