University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

By the same authors

Demand and Capacity Modelling for Acute Services using Discrete Event Simulation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Systems
Early online date11 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


Increasing demand for services in England with limited healthcare budget has put hospitals under immense pressure. Given that almost all National Health Service (NHS) hospitals have severe capacity constraints (beds and staff shortages) a decision support tool (DST) is developed for the management of a major NHS Trust in England. Acute activities are forecasted over a 5 year period broken down by age groups for 10 specialty areas. Our statistical models have produced forecast accuracies in the region of 90%. We then developed a discrete event simulation model capturing individual patient pathways until discharge (in A&E, inpatient and outpatients), where arrivals are based on the forecasted activity outputting key performance metrics over a period of time, e.g., future activity, bed occupancy rates, required bed capacity, theatre utilisations for electives and non-electives, clinic utilisations, and diagnostic/treatment procedures. The DST allows Trusts to compare key performance metrics for 1,000’s of different scenarios against their existing service (baseline). The power of DST is that hospital decision makers can make better decisions using the simulation model with plausible assumptions which are supported by statistically validated data.


This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Health Systems following peer review. The final publication [Demir, E., Gunal, M & Southern, D., Health Syst (2016), first published online March 11, 2016, is available at Springer via © 2016 Operational Research Society Ltd 2016

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