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This paper discusses the application of Discrete Event Simulation (DES) in modelling the complex relationship between patient types, case-mix and operating theatre allocation in a large National Health Service (NHS) Trust in London. The simulation model that was constructed described the main features of nine theatres, focusing on operational processes and patient throughput times. The model was used to test three scenarios of case-mix and to demonstrate the potential of using simulation modelling as a cost effective method for understanding the issues of healthcare operations management and the role of simulation techniques in problem solving. The results indicated that removing all day cases will reduce patient throughput by 23.3% and the utilization of the orthopaedic theatre in particular by 6.5%. This represents a case example of how DES can be used by healthcare managers to inform decision making.
Date of Conference: 1-3 April 2008