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Releasing Time to Care – The Productive Ward, Bay of Plenty


originally posted by corinne renshaw on 7 October 2010 and updated 21 February 2014


This project is about releasing time in a nurse day so they can spend more time on direct patient care. It is being implemented in Tauranga and Whakatane Hospitals.
In September 2008 BOPDHB was invited to send a representative on a Ministry of Health funded and led team that travelled to the UK to complete a master trainer’s course on a National Health System (NHS) initiative called Releasing Time to Care – The Productive Ward. As part of the agreement with the Ministry we then had to implement at least one showcase ward within our DHB.

The aim of this programme is to free up time in our nurses’ day so they can focus on direct patient care, improving the safety, reliability and efficiency of the care delivered to the patient. The programme is led by the ward’s nursing team, with assistance from the Service Improvement Unit, and empowers these front line staff to make the changes that will improve patient outcomes.

In Dec 08 all wards at Tauranga and Whakatane hospitals were invited to apply to be the showcase ward, and surgical 3a/b with 44 beds at Tauranga Hospital was selected. Carolyn Gent, clinical nurse manager launched the programme with her team in January 09.

In May 2009 the programme was launched across the level 2 medical floor which has 68 beds and divided into three wards and in November 09 the showcase surgical ward at Whakatane and the paediatric ward in Tauranga commenced implementation. The HIA ward which has 40 beds has launched the programme in January 2010.
In total 8 wards with a combined number of 200 beds have implemented the programme and approximately 400 staff have been trained. The next ward will launch the programme in September 2010 and it is planned to have all wards at BOBDHB implementing the programme by mid 2011.

What Worked Well

This is a cultural & team building long tem change programme that empowers front line clinical staff to make improvements in their ward.
Staff have to be given non clinical time to implement this programme or it will not be successful and effective leadership in the ward is also key.

To read an Assessment of the implementation of the Productive Ward and Productive Operating Theatre programmes in New Zealand, go to:

What Didn't Work Well

The programme has been very successful at BOPDHB but the main challenges have been:
-staff resource
-leadership in some areas
-ongoing sustainability.

Start Date

Jan 1, 2009


Bay of Plenty

Contact Person

Lisa Skeet-Smith


(07) 5798946 021540204