|Title||A healthcare space planning simulation model for Accident and Emergency (A&E)|
The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom provides a range service for its population including primary care and hospital services. The impact of the 2008 economic and financial crises prompted a tightening of public budgets including health. Over the next few years, and most likely beyond, the NHS is planning for unprecedented levels of efficiency saving in the order of £ billions. With little doubt, the NHS will need to review its way of working will need to do more with less.
Simulation is an established technique with applications in many industries including healthcare. Potentially, there are huge opportunities for simulation use to make further inroads in the field of healthcare. Despite the potential, arguably, simulation has failed to make a significant impact in health. Some evidence has tended to suggest that within health there has been poor adaption along with poor linkage to real-world problems, as perceived by healthcare stakeholders.
The aim of this thesis is to develop a model to help address real-world healthcare issues as recognised by healthcare stakeholders. In doing so, this thesis will focus on a couple of real-world problems, namely:
What space is needed to meet service demand, when is it needed and what will it cost?
What space do we have, how can it be used to meet service demand and at what cost?
The developed simulation space demand model will demonstrate its value modelling dynamic systems over static models. The developed models will also show its value highlighting space demand issues by groups of patients, by time of day. Real, readily available data (arrival and length of stay, by patient group) would drive the model inputs, supporting ease of use and clarity for healthcare stakeholders. The model was modular by design to support rapid reconfiguration. Dynamically modelled space information allows service managers and Healthcare Planners to better manage and organise their space in a flexible way to meet service requirements. This work will also describe how space demand can linked with building notes to determine Schedules of Accommodation which can be used to cost floor space and consequent building or refurbishment costs. Furthermore, this information could be used to drive business plans and to develop operational cost pertaining to the floor area. This body of work debates using function-to-space ratios and attaching facilities management cost. Our findings suggest great variance in function-to-space ratios. Our findings also suggest that moving to median or lower quartile function-to-space ratios could potentially save hospitals £ millions in facilities management costs.
This thesis will reflect on the level of modelling taking place in the healthcare industry by non-academic healthcare modellers, sometimes collectively known as Healthcare Planners, the Healthcare Planning role in space planning and their links with healthcare stakeholders. This reflection will also consider whether healthcare stakeholders perceive a great need for academic healthcare modelling, if they believe their modelling needs are met by Healthcare Planners. A central theme of this thesis is that academic modelling and Healthcare Planning have great synergy and that bringing together Healthcare Planners’ industry knowledge and stakeholder relationships with academic know-how, can make a significant contribution to the healthcare simulation modelling arena.