Demand and capacity management for GP practices

Demand and capacity management for GP practices: productivity gains, cost savings and happiness.

An operational challenge that needs a digital solution

  • What is it?
  • Why do it?
  • How to do it?

Author: Joe Aliferis 2024
Digital transformation Lead, Foundry Healthcare, Lewes
CTO, GPnetworks Ltd

What is it?

Demand and capacity management for a practice or group of practices is primarily a methodology of staff deployment that is based on a degree of understanding of demand for services and potential demand variation, coupled with an intelligent understanding of organisational capacity and capacity variation over time.

Right person, right session, right time

The above is probably one of the simplest expressions of the goal of demand and capacity management in a practice. It contains concepts of quality of service, cost efficiency, work-life balance and even equity among staff.

It is built upon matching a knowledge of demand patterns with an intelligent management of core operational things:

  • Capacity weeks
  • Staff contracts & work plans
  • Staff time-off
  • Staff rota patterns
  • Demand periods (Organisational rota targets)
  • Today
  • 1 week
  • 1 month
  • A normal week
  • Christmas week
  • Half-term week
  • Special week
  • Financial year

In practice, it is a modelling and planning of leave and staff rotas, that is designed to maximise the use of staff resources within the organisation and to match a best know model of demand for services.

Why do it?

The expression above also forms the basis of why to do demand & capacity management within a practice.

Right person, right session, right time is an expression of organisation productivity that also includes staff and patient well-being.

In plain English, if its possible to do a form of demand and capacity management its probably a good idea, because it can lead to:

  • Higher patient satisfaction
  • Higher staff satisfaction
  • Lower costs
  • Better recruitment


How to do it?

For us, at Foundry Healthcare, this has been the most interesting part and its formed the basis for 4 years of development of a solution, we call Tempo. But more about Tempo later.

A methodology for how demand and capacity management can be done, within a GP practice:

  • Service targets
  • Develop insights into demand and demand fluctuations over time by the best means at your disposal
  • Continually evolve the quality of your insights into demand and check back against outcomes for validation
  • Use best understanding of demand to develop service level targets for the organisation – in hours and/or in appointment counts
  • Planning
  • Create rota templates to express these targets as service design
  • Create weekly / seasonal variations of these rota templates
  • Manage all staff work plans in a dynamic way (over time periods)
  • Manage staff time-off in a dynamic way (live calculations based on work plans)
  • Create weekly work templates for staff to connect with work plans
  • Create weekly/seasonal variations of staff week templates
  • Create service teams by grouping staff
  • Model team capacity over time periods
  • Set team leave rules based on capacity models and targets
  • Deployment
  • Rota all staff by blending all of the above, striving for right person, right session, right time


A digital solution to the operational challenges.

Built by collaboration between an operational team, a clinical team, a strategic team and a digital development team

How to do demand and capacity management can seem a little intimidating. You would not be alone, in thinking this. This approach to demand & capacity management within a practice is obviously difficult to achieve.

However, all practices do a form of demand and capacity management already. Recognising this and understanding the ways in which they do it has been key to developing a viable and effective enhanced solution.

For us, Tempo is that proven solution.

Practices are doing demand and capacity management
As we have worked with other practices, we have seen how all practices are trying to do a form of demand and capacity management and all are achieving a measure of it. However, being a large practice ourselves, we could see how hard this was to setup and maintain. The main problem is the added complexity of time. Its not too hard to develop a demand and capacity model as a one-off snapshot but to link the concepts to a dynamic timeline of change is almost impossible. At Foundry Healthcare, we had developed some very complex spreadsheets to try to do this and they fell short of what we needed.

In 2021, we started developing Tempo. Three years later, we were using Tempo to model and deploy our operations at Foundry, having transferred much of what we do into this integrated digital system. A key goal within Tempo is to rota right person, right session, right time.

Tempo crunches our day-to-day data, as we use it for standard operational management, creating for our management team:

  • A live, dynamic capacity engine,
  • A planning & costing tool
  • A powerful rotering interface for deployment
  • Continual operational insights

Joining our work together
Our strategic team uses the data naturally generated in Tempo by our operational team as part of a learning cycle that informs the next phase of planning.

Who else uses Tempo?

Tempo is now being used by a growing network of practices around the UK, as their core digital transformation toolkit. It helps to deliver better productivity, better staff satisfaction and better patient outcomes by delivering intelligent, integrated but simple to use demand and capacity management for their whole team.

In summary, Tempo can take what you do now and transform it into demand and capacity management, connect your management team and all your staff together, manage all time-off in real-time, rota all staff, semi-automate many time-consuming tasks and build a new powerful dataset for your organisation to use as part of its strategic planning and recruitment.

Demand and capacity management for GP practices
Demand and capacity management for GP practices

Get in touch with us

We value the opportunity to have conversations with practices about what problems they experience and how Tempo can help an organisation, as well as give working examples.

If you would like to know more or arrange a Teams meeting, please get in touch