Baden – 1978

Report on the Fourth Meeting held in Baden, Switzerland, 24th-29th July 1978
Edited by Duncan Boldy, Chairman of the Working Group and Mark Füllemann, Organiser of the Baden Meeting


Our group is one of a number of European Working Groups (W.G.s) established at the inaugural congress of EURO (the European Association of O.R. Societies) i.e. EURO 1, Brussels, January 1975.  The Baden meeting represents the fourth annual meeting of the W.G., having as its general scheme “Case Studies and their Implementation”.

A total of twelve papers were presented during the three working days of the meeting.  One session was devoted to the annual report of the chairman on the W.G., one was devoted to the discussion of a draft paper prepared by a member of the W.G. (Einar Matson) for the International Hospital Congress, Norway, June 1979 and there was a session on “What Next?”.

Twelve European Countries were represented by the 29 participants, with three countries being represented for the first time i.e. Austria, France and Spain.  Belgium and Turkey are now the only EURO member countries who have not been represented at any of our four meetings.

Reports on the previous three meetings of the W.G. have been produced and are available from the chairman.  In addition, Aris Sissouras is exploring the possibility of producing and publishing a monograph containing a selection of papers presented at W.G. meetings.

In his annual report, the chairman of the W.G. reminded members of the three main objectives of the group, viz:-

1.                  The co-ordination and dissemination of information concerning health O.R work in Europe,

2.                  The organisation of European seminars on specific health O.R. topics,

3.                  The setting up of joint European health O.R. projects.

As regards objective 1, national registers of current health O.R. projects have been produced for the U.K. and Ireland (published by the U.K. Operational Research Society, 1977), Germany (via Clemens Dietrich) and Sweden (via Marten Lagergren).  Clemens Dietrich informed the meeting that the German register was very incomplete and that he would compile a list of groups working in the health field together with the titles of ministry and university projects.  For Sweden, Martin Lagergren stated that he would also extend the list of people working in the health field but, like Clemens, he would not necessarily be able to expand on the projects being undertaken.  The following contact people have now agreed to be responsible for finding out about health O.R. work in their respective country and producing, if possible, a list of groups, project areas and registers of current projects:-

Austria                        Christoph Mandl

Denmark                    Sune Petersen

Finland                       Leif Sonkin

France                        Henri Cerceau

Germany                    Clemens Dietrich

Greece                       Aris Sissouras

Italy                              Elvezio Montesarchio

Netherlands               Joseph van Aert

Norway                       Einar Matson

Spain                          Maria Rios

Sweden                      Marten Lagergren

Switzerland                Mark Füllemann

U.K and Ireland          Duncan Boldy

Related to objective 1, i.e. the dissemination of information on health O.R. work, the W.G. discussed the draft of a paper on health O.R prepared for the discussion group “Cost Containment and Quality Control” at the 21st International Hospital Congress due to be held in Oslo in June 1979.  Unfortunately the author of the paper, Einar Marson, was unable to be present and so the chairman undertook to inform Einar of the views of the W.G. regarding possible revisions to the paper.  In addition, the following participants agrees to suggest alternative examples of health O.R. work for possible inclusion in the paper, by the end of September, and to comment on any future drafts :- Lars Bostrup, Michael Kaliszer, Marten Lagergren, Arun Nanda and Aris Sissouras.

As regards objective 2, the organisation of seminars on specific topics has been fulfilled, at least in part, by holding annual meetings of the group with specific, if often rather broad, themes i.e. 1976 “Efficiency in Hospitals”; 1977 “Hospital Case Studies with Emphasis on Implementation”; 1978 “Case Studies and their Implementation”.

The W.G. confirmed the decision taken last year to hold the 1979 meeting in Dublin, Ireland with some members expressing the wish for more detailed preparation.  It was suggested that a relatively early deadline for short abstracts of papers should be set. so that the papers could be grouped into (say) two or three “themes” on which sessions could be based.  A “state of the art” paper for each theme could possibly be commissioned in order to set the scene.  The desirability of circulating full papers beforehand was emphasised, especially in view of language difficulties.  On this latter point, it was agreed that, where necessary, French could in future be used as a second language.  The Dublin meeting is planned for the 23rd-27th July 1979, location Trinity College, with four working days and one free day.  The organiser, Cathal Lennon (Stokes Kennedy Crowley, Management Consultants, Harcourt House, Dublin) has expressed the wish that one of the themes should be “Community Care”.

Although no specific meeting of the W.G. is planned in connection with EURO III (Amsterdam, April 1979), it was agreed that the W.G. should be represented and that a report on our activities should be prepared for EURO III; this to be arranged between the chairman of the W.G. and Anke Muller-Sloos, who is on the Organising Committee for EURO III.

The location of the 1980 meeting of the W.G. was discussed, offers being received from France, Finland and the Netherlands.  It was provisionally agreed to hold the meeting in Paris, with Henri Cerceau and Jean-Paul Dupinay as organisers.

Turning to objective 3 of the W.G., the meeting up of joint European health O.R. projects, the chairman stated that as the W.G. had now been in existence for three years and had achieved some success as regards the first two objectives, he believed that the time had arrived to make strong efforts to try and make some progress towards establishing a joint project or projects.  Obviously this is a difficult step to take and will not be seen as important for those members who have recently joined the group.  (Initially, the involvement of a few members only was probably desirable).  The President of EURO has indicated that there are chances that EURO will agree to support financially a well defined proposal for joint work so that it is important to respond to this “invitation” fairly quickly.  The W.G. discussed in outline a number of possible areas of joint work and agreed that the following two should be followed up:-

(i)                 Prevention related to Health

Duncan Boldy and Clemens Dietrich agreed to formulate a proposal for joint work in this area, for submission to EURO.

(ii)               Comparative costs of Institutional and Community Care

This is the subject of a project being undertaken by a select committee of experts of the Council of Europe.  It was agreed that the possibility of O.R. co-operation in the project should be explored, initially by particular members contacting their national representative on the select committee and reporting back to the chairman of the W.G.

List of Papers Presented

1.      “Implementation of O.R. Projects in the Swedish Health Services – General Conditions and Special Cases.”

Marten Lagergren (Sweden)

2.      “Some Aspects of Using Health Care System Models in Long-Term Planning.”

Pavel Kitsul (IIASA, Austria)

3.      “The Application of an Epidemiologically Based Simulation Model to Strategic Health Service Planning.”

David Clayden (United Kingdom)

4.      “Cost Structure of General Hospitals in the Netherlands.”

Joseph van Aert (Netherlands)

5.      “The Geographical Allocation of Community Care Resources – A Case Study.”

Duncan Boldy and Neil Howell (United Kingdom)

6.      “Planning Bed and Theatre Facilities for Postgraduate Teaching Hospital.”

Arun Nanda (United Kingdom)

7.      “ ‘Optimum’ Policies for the Number of Beds in an Intensive Care Unit.”

Aris Sissouras (Greece)

8.      “Training Functions and Cost Consequences for General Hospitals.”

Joseph van Aert (Netherlands)

9.      “Ambulance Services : Efficiency and Cost.”

Francisco Benito and Mark Füllemann (Switzerland)

10. “Automatisation du dispatching des véhicules du Service Central des Ambulances.”

Henri Cerceau and Jean-Pierre Willard (France)

11. “Nursing Workload and Selective Surgical Admission.”

Michel Kirkels (Netherlands)

12. “Permission Graphs for Guaranteeing Privacy in a Medical Information System.”

Clemens Dietrich (Germany)