Case study
Client name:Doncaster CCG
Project name:Primary and urgent care system model
Date:June 2014 and January 2015
Delivered by:Matthew Jones


A CCG in the North of England approached Attain wanting to build a simulation model of their health system to save time and money on pilot programmes and test initiatives.

Our approach

A System Dynamics package was used to create the simulation. System Dynamics uses a series of stocks and flows to model complex, dynamic relationships that we see in the health system – something that Excel struggles to do.

We worked with a wide range of stakeholders across the CCG to build a System Dynamic model, first focussing on Primary Care.

We delivered the model with an interface for GPs to use and a manual to understand how to best use it.

This approach can be used for the whole system, or parts of the system – for quantitative analysis (such as GP appointments) or qualitative (e.g. patient behaviour).

The main model building took 6 weeks plus time for validation and testing with local GPs.

Our impact

The project had many benefits – it helped commissioners and GPs see how each other viewed the system and how they reach consensus on what to do. The CCG Chair said it made him look at primary care in a different way and had helped him realise a range of possible new initiatives.

It also provided quantitative clarity on the impact of changing workforce and demand.

The second phase of the project was to add A&E to the primary care model – this modular, iterative approach means that we could start small and build, working closely with the stakeholders as we went.

Doncaster case study diagram 2
Doncaster case study diagram 1