Big P politics is often the topic of conversation at the water coolers of the corporate offices in Health Departments. I suggest this should also be a topic of conversation within health services. Not for the gossip value of the power brokers or factional fights, but more about what the Government is thinking and where it is heading in terms of health policy. Closer to election time, the Oppositions also start to publicise their intentions.
In ever more restrictive environments, understanding what drives the Government helps in setting your health service up for success. This knowledge is important regardless of where you sit in the leadership structure – as we know, service managers and directors, are often the people who are tasked with implementing Government policy.
Knowing and networking with your corporate colleagues is also key to keeping abreast of how policy is developed. No one likes surprises and being on the front foot enables you to do your own research on possible new policy. Give yourself the benefit of having time to do your own research about the value of these policies to your community. We often think there is not much new in the area of health policy and that we have just about done it all……. but don’t be fooled by the current lack of creativity.
Chief Executives can and do influence Government policy and most importantly need to be involved in the implementation methodologies so be aware of your CE interaction with your central agency. For the CE to positively influence they must be guided by factual information from those close to the action………. that’s you.
Keeping abreast of the Big P politics and being prepared for change enables you to analyse possible implications and help your staff understand what it means for them and the people they care for.
- Regardless of where you sit in the leadership structure – politics matter. It’s not just for the people
at the top to possess political nouse.
- Make political scanning a vital part of your environment scanning.
- Don’t let new policy proposals come as a surprise. Get in early. Give yourself time to do your own research on the value or otherwise of the policy.
- Develop a good understanding of how policy is developed, and the role of your corporate colleagues in its development.
- CE’s can and do influence Government policy and implementation methodologies.
- Be prepared for what might be the possible implications for your service, and be in a position to help your staff understand it.