Chair of Parliamentary Health Select Committee tells Cumberland Initiative of the importance of modelling to NHS decision-making

Stephen Dorrell, Chair of the Parliamentary Health Select Committee and formerly Secretary of State for Health, has expressed a strong interest in greater use of models for designing healthcare services. Mr Dorrell was speaking during a meeting he hosted with a Cumberland Initiative team at his Westminster office.

Mr Dorrell said, “There is no doubt in my mind about the important role real time modelling should play in NHS decision making and I very much welcome the progress that the Cumberland Team has been making in demonstrating this concept.” During the meeting on 16 July, Claire Cordeaux of Simul8 presented a model built with the NHS’s Interim Management and Support team around urgent and unscheduled care.  Professor Paul Harper from Cardiff University added that such simulation was being used in Wales to address the coordination of ambulance services and to free up the equivalent of three extra vehicles.

Dr Julie Hankin from Avon and Wiltshire, explained that, as a doctor leading organisational change, she faced her task without tools for designing services or for identifying unintended consequences.  Meanwhile, Loy Lobo from BT Health picked up Mr Dorrell’s challenge to re-imagine health and care services, acknowledging the need for four per cent efficiency gains year-on-year.  This would not be possible without creating a safe environment in which the future could be envisioned, simulated, with its implications for leadership and change fully understood.

Rob Berry from the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network, drew on his experience in the military. He made the case for trialling methods through manoeuvres and modelling and that this participatory approach had tremendous impact on the quality of decisions made in the heat of a difficult moment.

Professor Terry Young presented ‘Emergency Simulation’, the Cumberland Initiative Report on urgent and unscheduled care – hot off the press – and invited Mr Dorrell to the opening of the new Cumberland Initiative building in Slough, on September 23rd.

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