This article was contributed by Bob Jayes in May 2009.
This computer was purchased in 1989 by Inter-Authority Comparisons & Consultancy (IACC) to enable the analysis of hospital inpatient waiting lists. This was the early stage of a government initiative to reduce elective waiting time for admission to hospital. This exercise became known as the National Waiting List Initiative. IACC were a small group of staff, of which I was a member, based in the Health Services Management Centre at the University of Birmingham.
In December 1988 IACC was asked by the Secretary of State for Health to study the inpatient waiting lists at 22 English district health authorities with the highest number of long wait patients (long waits those already waiting over one year for admission).
In December 1988 the total number of people that were waiting for inpatient admission to hospital in England was 757,673 and 195,411 of those had already been waiting for more than one year. It was decided to target the long wait patients in the 22 districts and to examine some 43 individual specialties that had the highest number of long wait patients.
The Toshiba T3200 was taken around the country in aeroplanes, trains and cars to gather data about individual hospital waiting lists. Often the data had to be abstracted from waiting list cards or when possible transferred from a computerised system. For each patient we collected the following information: age, sex, date placed on list, operation required, district of residence and consultant. None of the hospitals had examined the waiting lists in this level of detail before and was essential for us to decide on the appropriate action that needed to be taken to reduce waiting time.
When we started in December 1988 the 43 marker specialties had 29,580 long wait patients and by March 1990 this number was reduced to 15,000 a 49% reduction.
The study was so successful IACC were then asked to examine another 100 waiting lists with long wait patients and we were kept very busy on this work for many years.
Eventually smaller lighter, faster computers became available and I purchased the Toshiba from IACC for private use at home, much to the delight of my children who would use it to do their school homework.
This exhibit has a reference ID of CH40286. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
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