Service Planning

Health service and strategic planning is undertaken to ensure the organisation and its health services are organised and delivered based on the community's current and future needs and preferences, and to make the most effective use of available resources to improve population outcomes.

Effective health and strategic service planning provides a clear direction for service development and resource investment across all parts of the health system and the health continuum from the well and at risk population, to those who require treatment and ongoing disease management and/or palliative care.

Service planning involves:

  • Assessing current and projected population health needs, 
  • Reviewing current service capacity and effectiveness, 
  • Estimating the future array and configuration of services required to meet population needs, including evidence-based models of care and service models, 
  • Outlining the processes and desired outcomes of change, including defined service goals, objectives and strategies (i.e. what we need to do, why, who, when, where, how). 

Types and levels of service planning may include:

  • Statewide, regional, Cluster or health network service planning (capital, clinical or population-based) 
  • Planning for specific populations (e.g. Aboriginal people, older people) or clinical services 
  • Program and service planning at a local level within an organisation, facility, department or unit. 

Service planning is undertaken within a broader framework of integrated planning outlined by the NSW Ministry of Health. Service planning precedes and informs other types of planning – including capital infrastructure, workforce and information management – with the aim of building a sustainable health system to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the community.

Health service planning differs from business planning in that service planning has a longer term outlook and a broader focus. A business plan is more operational and is usually implemented over a one year period.

Service Planning generally incorporates the following steps:

  • Define scope of plan 
  • Find evidence and identify needs 
  • Develop service options paper 
  • Develop draft health service plan 
  • Develop final health service plan 
  • Obtain endorsement of plan 
  • Communicate plan to stakeholders 

Identify executive sponsor(s) to implement the Plan.