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Cambridge University graduates help hospital prep for pandemic

Graduates from the University of Cambridge have been combining their skills with the latest simulation software to help Addenbrooke’s predict what resources – such as oxygen, ventilators and beds – it needs to get through the COVID crisis.

The group of PhD students and researchers have been volunteering their time and knowledge to help the hospital make sure it has the right resources in place so it can deliver the best care for patients.

Volunteer George Melman, from the Institute of Manufacturing at Darwin College, explained:  “We know the COVID curve has now flattened, but will definitely not go away in the foreseeable future. 

Further waves of hospital admissions can be expected but in unpredictable shapes and sizes.

In order to account for that variability, the team is making use of simulation software to account for different scenarios and for large variability, such as the length of stay of a patient.

The data-driven approach helps the hospital to make informed decisions about the equipment it will need to use operating theatres and intensive care units.

It will also identify bottlenecks in resources and help the hospital prepare for non-COVID care, such as emergency surgery.

Dr Ewen Cameron, Executive Director of Improvement and Resources at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, said: “We are extremely grateful to the graduates for assisting us.

Identifying what resources the hospital needs can be challenging at the best of times and the unpredictability of COVID-19 has made that process even more difficult. Any help we can get to manage our resources efficiently and effectively to help us continue to provide the very best care for patients, is gratefully received.