8. Flex your capacity

Do you have a way of monitoring if you need to flex the Choice capacity?

Do you know how your referral rate varies throughout the year?

Do you offer more appointments at your busy times and less at quiet times?

This means seeing more children if more are referred

Rationale

Flex your assessment and treatment capacity in response to your referral rates. Synchronising two processes (referral and assessment) avoids families being disadvantaged by differential waiting times according when they happen to be referred. Also improves and smoothes flow.

Ideas for Action

  • When are your busy referral times? Just before term ends? When is it quiet? August?
  • When the referral bulge arrives at the clinic make sure your capacity has a similar bulge to meet the demand.

Team Example

The East Herts. team review each week the number of vacant Choice appointments there are in the next six weeks and check that this is more than the number of referrals screened appropriate for Choice plus those not opted in from last week. If there aren't enough (rare) then the team find enough to be in balance. This ensures that all initial consultations are within 6 weeks of referral.