Problem 1: Matching referrals
You designed the Choice capacity based on job plans, without considering the accepted referral rate.
Solution 1: Matching referral rate
- Set the number of Choice appointments your team offers per week to be the same as the average accepted referral numbers per week.
- Then decide in your team who will offer those and how many. See the Implementation section for how to do this.
If you have this number right then the ebbs and flows of weekly referral variation are smoothed out when service users and their families book in. When demand is higher they might have to wait a couple of more weeks and, when lower, less time. You will stay in balance unless the referral rate permanently rises and/or you lose staff or suddenly it takes longer to complete a Choice appointment (say a new IT system!). For temporary increases in referrals you will need to flex your Choice capacity (see Solution 2 below for how to do this). For permanent increases you will need to reset your capacity and flex (see Solution 3).
Practice Point: This is one of the anchors of the CAPA system: matching and flexing the Choice capacity so no external waiting lists occur.