The Productive Operating House

The Productive Operating Theatre

The Productive Operating Theatre is a comprehensive package of support designed to enable organisations in the NHS to improve the patient experience and the outcomes of care by pursuing three main goals:
  • increase the safety and reliability of care
  • improve team performance and staff wellbeing
  • add value and improve efficiency.
The programme is for staff who work in theatres including consultant surgeons, anaesthetists, theatre matrons, theatre nurses, managers and operating department practitioners. 

The programme has been co-produced and tested with NHS theatre teams.  Results from our test sites have found that significant improvements can be made in a number of key areas:
  • improving start time and turnaround, session uptake and utilisation, and staff wellbeing
  • time wasted searching for equipment is reduced, and real time operational status boards help co-ordinate staff and lists
  • improved rates of normothermia and pain control in recovery
  • introduction of briefing and debriefing, along with the WHO checklist, has improved the safety culture and allowed lists to run more smoothly with fewer glitches.
Implementing this programme will provide your organisation with an opportunity to dramatically improve the quality and safety of surgical services, through the use of lean methodology and effective team working. It is an approach to support teams to run the perfect operating list.

Further information about The Productive Operating Theatre

Presenation slides for The Productive Operating Theatre programme launch September 2009 Presenation slides for The Productive Operating Theatre programme launch September 2009 (7.68 MB)

Access outputs from the Modernisation Agency theatre programme on:

• Pre-op assessment day surgery
• Pre-op assessment for in-patients
• Step guide to operating theatre performance

View the film 'The Productive Operating Theatre - the experience of Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust', which shows the benefits briefing and debriefing has brought to the team.

View the film 'Just a routine operation’

If you want to let us know about your own innovations in operating theatres, or have other queries, please email us

The Productive Operating Theatre is part of The Productive Series (The Productive Series 611.85 KB)

International partners
Link to NHS Institute partner in Australia and New Zealand.