NHS strategies often get a bad rap. They are seen as an inconvenience, a hoop to jump through, a long, tiresome document that gets written and then shelved. But strategies can be brilliant. Done well they can engage and inspire and be the engine room for forward motion.
In the NHS we have a tendency to write very similar strategies using the same NHS language and in the same issue-focused way. People expect strategy documents to be a slog to read and predictable. A good strategy should be a document that people want to read and even more importantly, want to implement.
In our experience a good strategy;
Understands the importance of the stakeholder engagement piece
A good strategy can’t just be born out of single person’s head. Its power is in its co-creation with others. You may feel that you know what is needed but talking to the people impacted by the strategy will give you a far greater insight and will help them feel part of the journey from the start. The successful delivery of projects is dependent on trusted relationships, engaging with key stakeholders in the initial strategy stages can therefore only benefit the delivery of the strategy.
Finds its own voice
Your strategy needs to be in the voice of your project, department, directorate. It needs to be written in a way that captures the energy of your vision and shows that the strategy means business. Be brave, move away from the standard NHS style, find your own style, it will not only make it more interesting to read it will make it more interesting to create too.
It focusses on the positive as much as the negative. It makes clear what needs to be addressed but rather than being written from a purely issue perspective it includes the good that has been achieved and can be built on.
Keeps staff and patients at its heart
The aim of any NHS strategy should always to improve patient care, and we think, improve staff experience. Without happy staff it is very hard to deliver any strategy. With that in mind a good strategy ensures every theme and every action will positively impact both.
It should also be written in a way that both staff, patients and external stakeholders can easily understand. If a patient can’t pick up your strategy and understand it your strategy has failed before it has even started.
Is talked about
Talk proudly about your strategy. Refer all decisions back to the strategy as justification. If people are making suggestions about future projects or actions, ask them how they support the achievement of the vison and strategy. Make the strategy so integral to day-to-day delivery and conversations that it really is a living, meaningful document.
Knows less is more
A document doesn’t need to be long to be meaningful. Be confident in the fact that less can be more.
Creating a strategy shouldn’t be arduous. Mapping out your vision and future should be an invigorating process. If it hasn’t been this way for you, maybe it is time for you to do differently.
If you need impartial advice or guidance on your IT Healthcare strategy, call me on 01483 453508 or email me: email@example.com
Jill De Bene, Development Director
Jill De Bene, Ideal’s Development Director, is an experienced and effective Transformation Consultant who has worked extensively within the NHS and Healthcare industry delivering sustainable and effective change. Jill has worked in the NHS, in healthcare consultancy practices, in Africa and for a global IT company. In these organisations she has lead on programme management, IT and transformation delivery, service redesign and commissioning. Jill is a specialist in achieving large scale sustainable change.