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Devon Partnership Trust (DPT) is working towards the creation of a single point of access telephony system. The first stage of this process is to implement an out of hours telephone support service to people in crisis, operating seven days a week 8pm-8am. This first stage is being piloted from 8th September 2016.
The service was extended in November 2016 to include operating 24 hours on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays, with a report on the pilot due at the end of March 2017. Following a successful pilot of the out of hours system the feasibility of operating 24 hours, seven days a week will be assessed and informed by this project.
The aim of this project is to support the first pilot stage of the new system by modelling the system and ensuring it can support the expected increases in demand over time.
The research objectives are to:
Thus far the initial discrete event simulation of the DPT out of hours telephony system has been created and a set of scenarios have been run to assess the impact of increased demand on system function. These scenarios show that at the level of demand seen in the first two months of the pilot the system is operating well within capacity. As demand gradually increases call handler utilisation will quickly double and as a result the time taken to answer calls will increase resulting in more dropped calls and longer waiting times.
These initial results will be presented to the collaborators at DPT and desired performance levels will be determined. Based on these performance targets a further series of scenarios will be run using the latest available data. These scenarios will test what resourcing is required to maintain the desired performance levels as demand increases.
The modelling and resulting reports will be used to inform the resourcing expectations for the system as its scope and demand increase. The findings of this project will be included in the reporting of the pilot phase of the telephony system to DPT.
Kerrie Dale – Operational Programme Manager, Devon Partnership Trust