Planning for Integrated Care

NHS Fife wanted to understand the impact of an aging population on demand for services, and to test the impact of the introduction of a virtual ward on bed capacity requirements.


The Reshaping Care for Older People Change Fund in Scotland aims to transform care for older people, supporting better integration of care to optimise independence and wellbeing for older people at home and improve outcomes.



The Challenge


Partnerships are required to evidence the impact of proposed investment and NHS Fife have been leading the way in using simulation to test their plans, and working with other Health Boards to share their learning.

NHS Fife used Scenario Generator, to represent the current health and social care system in Fife for older people and to test what would happen if a virtual ward was introduced.

“We felt we really needed to test this change out in a computer simulation to see what the impact would be, and to manage any risks.”

Ken Laurie, Director of Strategic Change, NHS Fife




Evidence for Change


Working with stakeholders, NHS Fife created a simulation that enabled everyone to understand the impact of the aging population on demand for services.

They simulated the introduction of a virtual ward on bed capacity requirements. One of the key modeling questions was to test what would happen if the staff assessing patients for the virtual ward worked 5 days a week or 7 days and week, and how many patients would still need an inpatient bed when the assessment centre was closed.



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The results showed the impact of introducing the new service, but also helped us see how demand would grow as a result of the growing population, when our virtual ward capacity runs out, and how much it would all be expected to cost.


Ken Laurie, Director of Strategic Change, NHS Fife

The Result


NHS Fife tested the simulation results with real data over a number of years to be absolutely confident in the results.

“Investing in a virtual ward is a big decision for us to make, and we felt we really needed to test it out in a computer simulation to see what the impact would be and to manage any risks, in line with guidance from the Scottish Government” said Ken Laurie, Director of Strategic Change from Fife.





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