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Title: Time-dependent stochastic modelling for predicting demand and scheduling of emergency medical services
Author: Vile, Julie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 6867
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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As the prominence of the service sector is increasing in developed nations, new and exciting opportunities are arising for operational researchers to develop and apply models which offer managers solutions to improve the quality of their services. The development of time-dependent stochastic models to analyse complex service systems and generate effective personnel schedules are key to this process, enabling organisations to strike a balance between the provision of a good quality service whilst avoiding unnecessary personnel costs. Specifically within the healthcare sector, there is a need to promote efficient management of an Emergency Medical Service (EMS), where the probability of survival is directly related to the speed of assistance. Motivated by case studies investigating the operation of the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST), this thesis aims to investigate how operational research (OR) techniques can be developed to analyse priority service systems subject to demand that is of an urgent nature, cannot be backlogged, is heavily time-dependent and highly variable. A workforce capacity planning tool is ultimately developed that integrates a combination of forecasting, queueing theory, stochastic modelling and optimisation techniques into a single spreadsheet model in order to predict future demand upon WAST, set staffing levels, and optimise shift schedules and rosters. The unique linking together of the techniques in a planning tool which further captures time-dependency and two priority classes enables this research to outperform previous approaches, which have generally only considered a single class of customer, or generated staffing recommendations using approximation methods that are only reliable under limited conditions. The research presented in this thesis is novel in several ways. Primarily, the first section considers the potential of a nonparametric modelling technique known as Singular Spectrum Analysis (SSA) to improve the accuracy of demand forecasts. Secondly, the main body of work is dedicated to adapting numerical queueing theory techniques to accurately model the behaviour of time-dependent multi-server priority systems across shift boundaries and evaluate the likelihood of excessive waits for service for two customer classes. The final section addresses how shifts can be optimally scheduled using heuristic search techniques. The main conclusions are that in addition to offering a more flexible approach, the forecasts generated by SSA compare favourably to those obtained using traditional methods, and both approximate and numerical modelling techniques may be duly extended to set staffing levels in complex priority systems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA Mathematics