I want to make a plea for reality as we enter the Service Plan process for 2013. God knows (and hopefully all of us!) we will have enough with which to contend in that year but when I hear that initial discussions and preparatory talks are underway at national level I shudder a little.
We are all too well aware of the process and output that gave us Service Plan 2012 and though we did our damnedest, we just could not come to grips with it. The irony in this is that we have exhorted our service managers, time and again, over recent years to embrace local and national plans, be they service, business or operational and then we landed the undoable: great plans, great targets but just not affordable. Hence the disconnect, the loss of confidence and credibility. And of course the inevitable scramble to make ends meet.
This is therefore a plea for reality for 2013. Our planners must take note of, listen and see what is happening on the ground. A change of structure at national level, while welcome, must be matched by a more inclusive approach to planning that values the judgement and input from those who, on the ground, have to daily deal with the consequences of decreasing resources.
As we come to the end of another year there is much anticipation, and expectation, concerning the new Directorate structures being introduced at national level. A lot more clarity is needed as to how this will pan out at regional level and below.
What is clear is that there will be few tears shed for the passing of what we now have. It’s too cumbersome, too centralised, too controlling and certainly too top-heavy. It disempowered too many good people at all levels and made automations of, and desensitised many, persons who joined the health services to make better the lives of others.
Hope springs eternal and we have learned from our experience of the recent years. We look forward now as managers to playing a more constructive role in the new structures being rolled out.