North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) asked Insource to implement a trust-wide, automated demand & capacity planning system for both strategic and tactical use – probably the most ambitious in the NHS for its scope, detail, capability and integration.

We successfully delivered it on budget, based on Gooroo Planner and our data management platform, and assisted with operational roll-out in time for the annual planning round. NBT have greatly expanded their user base, in a significant demonstration of confidence in the system, and continue to refine and broaden their operational use of the product.

The most ambitious demand & capacity planning project in the NHS

Innovations by both NBT and Insource came together to make this probably the most ambitious and advanced demand & capacity planning system in the NHS – for ongoing operational use, and a generation beyond the traditional annual planning spreadsheet.


NBT worked with their operational managers to derive the subspecialty for elective patient pathways – a complex and meticulous task that is often desired, sometimes attempted, but rarely achieved by NHS trusts whose core IT systems do not provide it natively.

Subspecialty detail enriches demand & capacity planning, because that is the level of detail at which operations are managed – in orthopaedics, for instance, hand surgeons cannot help with the hips backlog.

The provision of subspecialty detail is an ongoing project with the NBT data warehouse, but it was a simple matter for us to include it in the data flows through the Insource data management platform to Gooroo Planner.


Every Monday morning, as NBT staff are arriving at work, Gooroo Planner from Insource automatically finishes planning the months ahead: every specialty, every subspecialty, every major point of delivery, and every week. If that isn’t enough, elective plans can even be played out in patient level animation.

Elective pathways are linked up in the planning, so that changes in outpatients automatically flow through to the waiting list for admissions; bed, theatre, and clinic requirements are all worked out; and clinical priorities come first throughout Gooroo Planner.

No fewer than four scenarios are planned every week: to achieve waiting list and waiting time targets, to keep up with demand, to deliver a specified amount of activity, and to continue ‘business as usual’ at the historic activity rate.

As well as the capability to automatically share these plans to every licensed user, each scenario is returned in week-by-week detail to Insources Unified Data Layer (UDL) where it is available for comparison against actual. In future, NBT can integrate all this data into their usual Business Intelligence system, meaning that staff will have progress against plans at their fingertips, without having to do the planning themselves.


Skilled Insource personnel were on hand to train NBT colleagues through the implementation.

NBT information professionals learned how to adapt the Insource data feeds as their needs evolved, and operational managers quickly learned how to interpret and use the results from Gooroo Planner in series of workshops based on actual planning tasks they had to complete.

“We wanted a demand & capacity system that ran automatically and could be used for regular tactical planning as well as the usual annual planning round. Insource have delivered it comprehensively with Gooroo Planner, and we look forward to using it for years to come.”

Simon Perry, Head of Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence, IM&T, NBT