Making an impact in the health and social care system

The Steer Davies Gleave prize was awarded between 2008 and 2014 for the best application of System Dynamics modelling to a topic of wide public interest. Over this period it was awarded four times, and in each case the work was related to projects which had a significant impact on the delivery of healthcare, social care and public health in the UK.

Case studies for each of these award winning projects have been brought together in a single document. They demonstrate the breadth of the application of System Dynamics to critical issues affecting the national health and social care system. In short, these case studies demonstrate how System Dynamics has been used to save the health and care system millions of pounds whilst improving care outcomes.


More information about each of the award winning entries is given below:

2008: Improving Access to Mental Health Services in England, both Locally and Nationally

Two linked projects on improving access to mental health contributed to savings of over £400 million. The Stepped Care project, supported the introduction of stepped care services for mental health across the North West of England. The Wellbeing project carried out for the Department of Health, analysed the case for improved national access to psychological therapies. The contribution of System Dynamics to the debate on improving treatment in mental health has been substantial.

2011: Implementing the Comprehensive Spending Review in home care for older people
Whole Systems Partnership

This project demonstrated the value of using System Dynamics as an aid to strategic change. With this support one Council was able to move forward confidently in realising around £1.5M of savings whilst securing better quality care for its clients and a team of professionals who understood and were committed to the changes.


2012: The “Alcohol Systems Model”

System Dynamics was used to represent the impact public health interventions could have on alcohol attributable hospital admission, which can amount to over a million hospital admissions per annum. The model enabled time profiled cost-benefit to be calculated, clearly showing that a modest investment in a high-volume, low-intensity, brief intervention would result in reduced hospital admissions.


2013: Robust workforce planning: dealing with uncertainty
Centre for Workforce Intelligence & Decision Analysis Service Ltd

A System Dynamics based review was carried out on the medical workforce across England. The purpose of the review was to ensure an adequate and affordable future supply of good quality trained doctors for the next 25 years. The review found that there was a potential future oversupply of doctors in total and a potential imbalance between hospital doctors and GPs. As a result, the medical training inflows for these workforces have been adjusted accordingly.