Formulating a strategic plan for a local system of mental health services

After collecting this background information, step five is the formulation of a strategic plan for the local system of mental health services. Such a written plan will usually involve: the setting of short- and long-term objectives, widespread consultation and involvement in the plan. The strategic plan will also estimate gaps in categories of services, will separately estimate gaps in the capacities of services, will include a specific costing, and will set out a detailed project management timetable indicating the timepoints at which each service change will take place.

Working at the local community level makes building links with key local figures both useful and inevitable. They will most often include not only family doctors and general hospital and other health service clinicians, but also social service and housing department staff, patients and their representatives, local politicians, local newspapers and radio stations, family members, and carer groups. But a wider corona of stakeholders may also wish to have their presence and interests represented and respected. This wider set of constituencies can include neighbourhood or residents' associations, staff, governors, and parents of local schools, shopkeepers, local politicians, church ministers, and police officers. The importance of these stakeholders emerges particularly at times when plans are being developed to open new mental health facilities.

Faced with potential local opposition to a planned new mental heath services, staff are faced with a dilemma: should neighbours be kept in the dark about local developments or fully informed? An understandable concern by staff is that local reactions may be hostile and uninformed, which could sabotage community care projects and might lead them to tell neighbours as little as possible. On the other hand, it is possible to argue that neighbours will learn about new local developments sooner or later, and that their anger will be greater if they discover the truth at a late stage. Our experience leads us to the view that treating neighbours openly, as potential partners, and seeking their early informed consent for proposals at the planning stage is pragmatic, principled, and a proper base for mental health services that are fully integrated within their local communities.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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