A carve-out is reserving or carving out a slice of capacity for a particular task. Carve-out is good for the group that can access the carved-out space. But it is bad for everyone else!

One example is that of a bus lane; at certain times of day that lane of road is reserved for buses. In rush hour, when demand is high for the road capacity, it is excellent for the buses as they get good access to that capacity. For the car drivers they have to wait longer as they have less capacity available. At times of low demand, when the road is fairly empty, the bus lane makes no difference to flow of either cars or buses.

In CAMHS the most common form of carve- out is to keep slots free for emergencies only. This may work well if there is an exact balance between the number of vacant slots and the number of emergencies, so that the slots are always filled. But if some slots are not used then the overall effect is to increase the routine waiting times for non-emergency patients.

One of the key problems with carve out in that it is a fixed allocation of capacity. Of course they may be other reasons to carve-out a slice of capacity which although inefficient might have wider gains. Bus lanes although inefficient fit with wider transport policy; a carved out admin/liaison session in your job plan will ensure important networking and communication tasks are not squeezed out by other tasks!