Douglas McKelvie, Symmetric Scenarios

Douglas McKelvie has worked with and in various parts of Symmetric since 2005. He has had a varied career, starting out as a local authority social worker in 1980. In the 1990s, he was a principal adviser with the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work up to and during its transition into the Scottish Social Services Council. There he developed an interest in workforce planning and computer simulation. In 2002, he moved into consultancy where he had the very good fortune to work alongside Eric Wolstenholme, from whom he learned about the System Dynamics approach.

Symmetric uses simulation to support strategic planning in health and social services. Douglas has built simulations for a wide range of organisations across the UK, including government departments, NHS bodies, and local authorities. He mostly uses System Dynamics, in a group model building context, an approach that takes a ‘whole system’ view of complex problems, such as are found in health and social care integration, where services span agency and functional boundaries. Models include delayed discharges, winter pressures planning, commissioning and capacity planning, workforce planning, economic impact analysis, public health / population level issues, mental health, and specific conditions, such as dementia. Douglas is the Past President (2016/17) of the UK Policy Council of the System Dynamics Society and is the author of a number of papers on the use of simulation in health, social care, and related human services. He is Edinburgh-based but works across the UK (and beyond).