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Maths Saves Lives! Healthcare modellers win innovation award

18 June 2015

healthcare award
Dr Danny Antebi, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board; David Baynes, Chief Operating Officer, IP Group Plc; Judith Paget, Chief Executive, ABUHB; Professor Paul Harper, School of Mathematics.

A team of mathematical modellers who use data to help save lives have won a Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Award

The experts are unravelling the complexity of healthcare processes, leading to optimal service design, reduced waiting times, improved access to care, and ultimately saving lives.

Led by Professor Paul Harper, 'Maths Saves Lives' puts data modelling at the heart of healthcare, helping the NHS match capacity to demand by studying queues and flows of patients.

The 'Innovation in Healthcare' Award, sponsored by leading law firm Geldards and IP Group, recognises the team's outstanding contribution to improving NHS services.

The mathematical modelling unit is funded by and embedded within the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB), within their Continuous Improvement team (ABCi). The unit employs five research associates.

The team's work is the first known case of embedded mathematical modelling in healthcare in the UK (or globally), creating an ongoing dialogue between modellers, clinicians and managers, encouraging them to engage, innovate, test alternatives, and take on leadership roles.

Professor Harper, Director of Health Modelling Centre Cymru, said: "We are delighted to receive recognition for our innovative work to help NHS Wales design and deliver prudent healthcare services to ensure resources are used to maximum effect; this is a challenging yet vital task."

As a direct result of the collaboration, more than 200 NHS Wales staff have attended training in statistical and modelling techniques, and a national training course is being developed with PenCHORD at Exeter University. 

Judith Paget, ABUHB Chief Executive noted: "The project's success has led to better planning for the organisation and better analysis: much better decisions are made as a result of the input of the mathematical modellers."

Further collaborative benefits include the hosting of MSc student research projects, match funded PhD studentships, research grant submissions and successes, and a joint lectureship in Operational Research. The unit has also attracted interest from the wider NHS and UK Government, including meetings with the Chair of the Health Select Committee.

Dr Danny Antebi, Director of ABCi, said "This work is providing a robust and scientific evidence-base which is being applied to ABUHB's services and contributing to the planning of the new specialist critical care centre planned for 2018. The work of the mathematicians will help to ensure that the Board's annual budget will deliver best value for patients into the future."

The award was presented to Prof Paul Harper (School of Mathematics), Dr Danny Antebi and Judith Paget (Aneurin Bevan University Health Board) by David Baynes, Chief Operating Officer, IP Group Plc