Health Care Management Science

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 231–236 | Cite as

Transient Probabilities for Queues with Applications to Hospital Waiting List Management

  • Mark Joy
  • Simon Jones


In this paper we study queuing systems within the NHS1. Recently imposed government performance targets lead NHS executives to investigate and instigate alternative management strategies, thereby imposing structural changes on the queues. Under such circumstances, it is most unlikely that such systems are in equilibrium. It is crucial, in our opinion, to recognise this state of affairs in order to make a balanced assessment of the role of queue management in the modern NHS. From a mathematical perspective it should be emphasised that measures of the state of a queue based upon the assumption of statistical equilibrium (a pervasive methodology in the study of queues) are simply wrong in the above scenario. To base strategic decisions around such ideas is therefore highly questionable and it is one of the purposes of this paper to offer alternatives: we present some (recent) research whose results generate performance measures and measures of risk, for example, of waiting-times growing unacceptably large; we emphasise that these results concern the transient behaviour of the queueing model—there is no asssumption of statistical equilibrium. We also demonstrate that our results are computationally tractable.


Structural Change Statistical Equilibrium Management Strategy Economic Policy Public Finance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MathematicsKingston UniversityU.K.
  2. 2.Bromley NHSU.K.

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