Demand and capacity modelling: what everyone needs to know

The mismatch between capacity and demand is one of the main reasons why waiting lists or backlogs develop and waiting lists and waiting times increase. The understanding of the outputs of robust demand and capacity modelling are a fundamental requirement for the planning and delivery of healthcare services in a modern health and social care system.

A shared understanding between providers and commissioners on demand, capacity, bottlenecks and constraints can help to:

  • Understand the reasons why waiting lists grow
  • Model the required level of capacity to keep pace with demand
  • Understand the gap between the required capacity and the current capacity of a service
  • Calculate the maximum waiting list sizes that are consistent with the clinical pathway milestones
  • Model the impact of clearing excess waiting list sizes down to ideal maximum levels
  • Identify any potential inefficiencies
  • Support better decision making around service changes
  • Reduce waiting times for patients

See also:

Why is Demand and Capacity important?

Fundamental concepts

Our introductory training