Ultrasound waiting lists: Rational queue or extended capacity?

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The features and issues regarding clinical waiting lists in general and general ultrasound waiting lists in particular are reviewed, and operational aspects of providing a general ultrasound service are also discussed. A case study is presented describing a service improvement intervention in a UK NHS hospital's ultrasound department, from which arises requirements for a predictive planning model for an ultrasound waiting list. In the course of this, it becomes apparent that a booking system is a more appropriate way of describing the waiting list than a conventional queue. Distinctive features are identified from the literature and the case study as the basis for a predictive model, and a discrete event simulation model is presented which incorporates the distinctive features.

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