Patient pathways - basic building blocks methodology: guidance

Guidance on the use of the Basic Building Blocks methodology which is a systematic approach to the demand and capacity analysis of existing patient pathways.

1. 6 Essential Actions to Improving Unscheduled Care


The 6 Essential Actions to Improving Unscheduled Care Improvement Programme was launched in May 2015. In consultation, 6 Essential Actions were identified as being fundamental to improving patient care, safety and experience for the unscheduled care pathways.

The Six Essential Actions

1. Clinically Focussed and Empowered Hospital Management

2. Capacity and Patient Flow Realignment

3. Patient Rather than Bed Management

4. Medical and Surgical Processes arranged for Optimal Care

5. Targeted 7 Day Services

6. Ensuring Patients are Cared for in their Own Home

The aim of the programme is safe, person centred, effective care delivered to every patient, every time without unnecessary waits, delays and duplication

Essential Action 2: Capacity Management and Patient Flow Realignment establishes and then utilises appropriate performance management and trend data to ensure that the correct resources are applied at the right time, right place and in the right format. This essential action includes Basic Building Blocks, Bed Management Toolkit, Workforce Capacity Toolkit and alignment with Guided Patient Flow Analysis.

Fig 1.

Fig 1


This guidance introduces you to the toolkit for developing Basic Building Blocks as the key action within Essential Action 2: Capacity Management and Patient Flow Realignment.

This toolkit offers a systematic approach to developing a Basic Building Block and supports understanding of capacity, demand and patient flow analysis through a hospital site. Developing the Basic Building Blocks will initially give an overview of the site footprint and a basic understanding of patient flow. As you progress through the Basic Building Blocks you develop a deeper understanding of how each sector of demand impacts on the next to cultivate a whole system analysis of capacity and demand.

This toolkit can be used to understand the impact of service redesign and transformation. When fully complete the Basic Building Blocks will allow you to simulate innovations to measure the impact and inform test of change, it will identify measures that will determine if the change has been successful and will offer analysis for development of business case for change.


The Basic Building Blocks methodology is a systematic approach to the demand and capacity analysis of existing patient pathways.

By using this methodology sites will gain:

  • detailed understanding of the existing unscheduled care pathways
  • meaningful data which improves understanding of demand at each stage of the patients pathway
  • knowledge of demand to support realistic capacity planning to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes
  • improved understanding of the cause-and-effect relationships in the system
  • support management to identify the numbers associated with a 'functioning system'
  • fuller engagement in utilising data for modelling transformation and service redesign and potential impacts
  • in depth analysis to support business case for change


Email: Unscheduled Care Team

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