Matching skill mix, case mix and demand in community child health services

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Abstract:

Aim: To quantify and align skill mix and demand in a community paediatric service in the UK.

Design: Descriptive study of a project in a medium-sized health district with a population of 330 000 (70 000 children).

Method: Data were collected using an optical mark reader to measure demand for services in various localities. Data were analysed with Microsoft Access and Excel packages.

Results: The data were aggregated to reflect the demand in each locality, the number of paediatricians working in each, and how these could be better matched. This enabled services to be reconfigured over time to reflect changing work profiles, staff changes and training needs of junior staff. This led to better continuity of care and a more appropriate skill mix to meet demand.

Conclusion: Community paediatric activity can be counted and analysed using familiar IT packages to help service managers align skill mix, case mix and demand for services. Information collected can be used as a successful tool to promote equity and support change. An agreed national data set would help to 'benchmark' community paediatric staffing levels across the UK, helping to explain and perhaps reverse current recruitment difficulties.

Keywords: ACTIVITY ANALYSIS; CASE MIX; COMMUNITY PAEDIATRICS; SKILL MIX

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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