When planning is a paper exercise
18/11/2013by Rob Findlay
Every winter, NHS organisations prepare their plans for the financial year to come. After months of detailed discussion and modelling, the plans are finally signed-off, and carefully filed away. Often, they are never acted upon. Consultant job plans, clinic templates, bed configurations, hospital life in general… they all carry on as if nothing had happened. Why?
Imagine you are in your car, itching to get past the lorry in front of you. You ease out a bit and, if you can see a nice straight stretch of road ahead, and there’s nothing coming, you put your foot down decisively and overtake.
Now imagine there’s a new bit of technology on your dashboard, so a light comes on when it’s safe to overtake. You’re stuck behind the lorry. The light comes on. Do you put your foot down?
Of course you don’t. You’re about to risk your life by driving fast on the wrong side of the road, and you want to be absolutely sure it’s safe before you commit yourself. A clear view of the road ahead gives you the richness of information you need, something that speaks to your experience and intuition. But if the light on the dashboard comes on, does that mean it’s safe? Or does it mean there’s a fly on the sensor, or some kind of programming error?
So what does all this have to do with NHS capacity planning? Well, if you’re an operational manager then rejigging your capacity is a pretty big deal, and likely to result in a lot of important people being cross with you if you get it wrong. (Some of them may be cross with you just for changing things, even if you’re right.) You need to be absolutely sure it’s the right thing to do before committing yourself. You need that clear view ahead.
Instead, all you have is numbers on a planning spreadsheet. You’re not absolutely sure where the raw data came from, or how the calculations work, and the key results that you’re relying on are expressed in a few bald totals and averages. In short, you have the light on the dashboard. You might sort-of trust it. But not enough to commit yourself.
Our aim at Gooroo is to give you that clear view of the road ahead.
Our capacity plans show you how things are likely to pan out week by week, so you can see Christmas, all the half terms, the skiing season and the summer holidays and the theatre maintenance, all laid out on the charts where activity dips and waiting times step-up.
You can see the big picture for the whole hospital, the weeks where you run out of beds, the early January surge and the end-of-March wobble.
You can see what happens if you carry on as you are, and how you could focus change to make things better. It speaks to your experience, and your intuition. It is rich, and visual, and shows immediately how the changes you are considering would make a difference.
To learn more about Gooroo, and how it can give operational managers the confidence to reshape capacity, just get in touch and ask for a free on-site demo: firstname.lastname@example.orgReturn to Post Index