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What do I enter for theatre time available?

The key thing with FutThtAvail (“Future theatre hours available per week”) is that you want it to be directly comparable with ResThtHrsWk (“The average number of theatre hours, per week that theatres are in use, in the future period”). So the real question is to understand ResThtHrsWk.

You can get full details about how ResThtHrsWk is calculated in the document “Gooroo Planner – the calculations and data” available at

In plainer English, this is how it works (we will assume a simple case where you aren’t putting in separate theatre times for urgent and routine cases, and assuming no deliberate overbooking):

ResThtHrsWk is calculated as (the number of patients going to theatre each week, in the weeks when theatres are running) * (minutes in theatre per patient) / (60 minutes per hour)

Then number of patients going to theatre each week is slightly more complicated, but it can be summarised as: (total activity in the future period) * (an adjustment for removals and cancellations) * (the proportion of activity that actually goes to theatre) / ( (the number of weeks in the period) * (the proportion of those weeks when theatres are running) )

So FutThtAvail should be the amount of theatre time you actually have available, on a basis that is comparable with the calculated amount of theatre time you will need.

One thing to watch out for is the proportion of weeks when theatres are running. Planner is flexible enough to adapt to the way you want to handle this, but here is an example to illustrate how it might work in two different ways.

If you are modelling for a business case for capital development, then you might be basing the calculations on the physical theatre. The physical theatre is probably used nearly all year for elective surgery (minus Christmas week and maintenance), because when one surgeon is on leave the time is reallocated to another. In this case you are probably using something like 50 weeks per year (around 95 per cent of weeks), and for FutThtAvail what matters is the amount of time available to the service in the physical theatre.

If on the other hand you are working out consultants’ job plans, then you may want to do things differently. You may assume that each consultant works around 40 weeks per year (operating 75-80 per cent of weeks), so now the amount of that surgeon’s time is what matters.