Why the School of Pharmacy at University College Cork are going Lean!

16 Apr 2014
L-R: Prof Stephen Byrne, Head of School of Pharmacy; Prof John Higgins, Head of College of Medicine & Health; Joe Aherne, CEO of the Leading Edge Group; Pat Field, Network Performance Leader, Pfizer; Deirdre Lynch, Chief Pharmacist, Cork University Hospital and President of the Hospital Pharmacists Association of Ireland; Caroline Reidy, Hospital Key Account Manager, Pfizer Healthcare.

The School of Pharmacy at UCC is embarking on a unique initiative in Ireland using the concept and principles of Lean Management. 

The Lean concept was developed by Toyota and supports the identification of wasteful activities in a healthcare process that does not enhance the patient experience, and provides a means to remove or reduce them. The School of Pharmacy are hosting this Lean based educational and consulting programme for all pharmacies across the South/South West Hospital Group to be delivered by the international healthcare improvement organization, the Leading Edge Group. The objectives of the programme is to educate and empower pharmacists and pharmaceutical technicians in the use of techniques and methodologies that will not only improve their pharmacy processes within their hospitals but deliver better care to their patients.


The Leading Edge Group has successfully worked with the Pharmacy Department at University Hospital Galway and recently embarked on a 6-month pharmacy project with the Northern Health Authority in British Columbia, Canada. Joe Aherne, CEO, of the Leading Edge Group was present at the launch and was excited about the benefits for the Irish Healthcare System “Our results in Canada and Ireland to date have been really impressive. Improvements have incorporated reduced times to fill orders; reductions in cycle times for managing returns of unused medicines; time spent by pharmacists checking and correcting medication orders and paperwork and standardization of core processes across pharmacies. We have seen a paradigm shift in Pharmacy through the adoption of a culture of continuous improvement”


Prof. Stephen Byrne, Head of School of Pharmacy and Chair of Clinical Pharmacy Practice at University College Cork emphasized the significance and importance of this programme “This is the inaugural partnership between the School of Pharmacy, UCC, the Academic Health Centre and the Leading Edge Group. The deliverables from this programme will be the identification of improvement projects within the pharmacies and their subsequent implementation over a 3 month period.  The School of Pharmacy will work with the Leading Edge Group and project teams in a mentoring capacity, with the aim of publishing case reports on the success of such implementations. We are proud to be the first healthcare group working collaboratively in Pharmacy to improve patient care using an integrated Lean approach”


Prof. John Higgins, Head of College of Medicine & Health at University College Cork spoke at the programme launch and emphasized the importance of collaboration within our healthcare systems with Academia and third party healthcare practitioners. Mr. Pat Field of Pfizer Ireland also spoke at the launch about the impact of LEAN processes within the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry in Ireland. The programme is being kindly sponsored by an Educations grant from Pfizer Ireland.

School of Pharmacy


Cavanagh Pharmacy Building Room UG06 University College Cork