9. Know your capacity

Have you calculated your overall service capacity? If you don't know where to start go to Implementation.

Have you factored into your calculations time for admin, liaison, study leave, annual leave, consultation, management...

Does your calculated capacity equal what you actually do of each type of work? E.g. if you calculate you can see 20 cases for psychometric assessment a year but have a waiting list- why is this?

What capacity do you have for highly specialised work, such as child psychotherapy?

Does each member of staff know their capacity?

How much clinical time do you have to see families?


Knowing and understanding your capacity makes it clear how much demand you can manage. Capacity needs to match demand. Capacity, if not used, cannot be carried forward whereas demand is always carried forward as a waiting list. Unfilled emergency appointments this week cannot be used next week for that rush of extra referrals just as school term ends!

Ideas for Action

  • Calculate your capacity in terms of new patient appointments, activity per clinician etc.
  • Know your potential and actual capacity and the reasons for the difference (usually due to inefficient systems and variability. Variability is defined in the section on Demand and Capacity-click on the left hand menu bar).
  • Know capacity for problems that need special skills e.g. severe learning disability.
  • Be honest about it!