One year on from their introduction into the complex landscape that makes up the NHS, many ICBs are beginning to plan for an expected requirement to create an infrastructure strategy, bringing together thinking across multiple providers and sectors. This is a great opportunity to understand and address key challenges and healthcare inequalities, but it can be a daunting task.
If you’ve not begun this thinking, or are in the early stages of planning, then our diagnostic tool could help. Based on our work with systems across the country, we’ve pulled together a number of key questions which, if you haven’t already started to consider them, will help you work out where you stand, and ensure you’re well prepared for the challenge ahead.
- Who are your partners?
New systems and processes take time to bed in and allow relationships to form, so every organisation that plays a part in the local health economy might not yet be fully engaged with the ICB. Who’s missing from your infrastructure strategy co-production team? Working together to produce this plan might be the catalyst needed to strengthen those relationships. Likewise, setting up clear governance now around production of the infrastructure strategy – roles and responsibilities – will pay dividends later.
- What information are you currently sharing?
Data-based decision making is essential to the production of a sound strategy, so now is the time to reach out to all those involved in your system and collate all your information into a single source, highlighting any gaps and how they will be filled. This will need to include strategic objectives, current estates and asset information, and pipeline projects or developments.
- Do you have a shared vision and objectives?
The infrastructure strategy will need a method of assessing and prioritising future spend, which will in turn need to be aligned with mutually agreed SMART objectives and KPIs. A lack of a clearly articulated shared vision might be a stumbling block to agreeing the preferred way forwards.
- What’s your clinical strategy?
The infrastructure strategy needs to respond to a well-defined clinical strategy, so that the future health estate can respond to the local population’s health needs and the preferred model of delivery. If there are some elements of your strategy that are more defined than others, what are the crucial queries that need answering now to best inform the development of your infrastructure strategy? For example do you understand the future levels of demand for particular services as your local population changes?
- Have you checked your previous plans?
System level estates plans were last produced in 2018, and updated in some places during 2019, and some of these have been refreshed more recently. If you haven’t checked back, this is a good time to see what’s changed now compared to then, in terms of strategic context as well as the progress that has been made and what simply isn’t relevant anymore.
If you’ve worked your way through all these questions, you’ll be in good shape to move to the next steps and start preparing your strategy. It’s important to build upon what you have, rather than starting with a blank sheet of paper, so ensure that you don’t try to begin planning without gathering everything you need first.
Want to reach out for help? We have the knowledge, experience and expertise to support you through the entire process, so please get in touch if you need further guidance, or would like us to be a partner in developing your plan.