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A Queueing Model for the Ambulance Ramping Problem with an Offload Zone
  • Josef Zuk,
  • David Kirszenblat
Josef Zuk
Defence Science and Technology Group

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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David Kirszenblat
Defence Science and Technology Group


This work develops a methodology for studying the effect of an offload zone on the ambulance ramping problem using a multi-server, multi-class non-preemptive priority queueing model that can be treated analytically. A prototype model for the ambulance/emergency-department interface is constructed, which is then implemented as a formal discrete event simulation, and is run as a regenerative steady-state simulation for empirical estimation of the ambulance queue-length and waiting-time distributions. The model is also solved by analytical means for explicit and exact representations of these distributions, which are subsequently tested against simulation results. A number of measures of performance is extracted, including the mean and 90th percentiles of the ambulance queue length and waiting time, as well as the average number of ambulance days lost per month due to offload delay (offload delay rate). Various easily computable approximations are proposed and tested. In particular, a closed-form, purely algebraic expression that approximates the dependence of the offload delay rate on the capacity of the offload zone is proposed. It can be evaluated directly from model input parameters and is found to be, for all practical purposes, indistinguishable from the exact result.
29 Jan 2024Submitted to TechRxiv
08 Feb 2024Published in TechRxiv