Job Planning in the NHS: Structuring Success for Healthcare Professionals
In an ever-evolving healthcare system like the NHS, job planning plays a vital role in optimising the efficiency and effectiveness of medical professionals and overall service provision. In simple terms, a job plan is an official agreement an employee shares with their employer to define their duties and responsibilities, including when and where nominated roles or activities will take place and for how long, and balancing an individual’s personal development goals with the needs of the service.
Defining Job Planning in the NHS
A job plan is a structured document that outlines healthcare employees' specific duties, responsibilities, accountabilities, and career objectives. It presents as a timetable, displaying your schedule, including the amount of time worked across all programmed activities, plus flexible and annualised hours, as well as any on-call arrangements. The job plan distinguishes the hours of work spent in specific roles, from providing direct clinical care to patients, to other supporting professional activities and additional duties.
According to the commitments set out in the NHS Long Term Plan for transforming the workforce, all clinical staff are expected to have a job plan, which will eventually be deployed digitally across all trusts and foundations across the UK. But fear not! The idea of online job planning is to make them even more accessible and also help to generate wider data to ensure your skills are being used where they are most needed.
The job plan is created on an annual basis and implemented through daily/weekly operational systems, such as e-Rostering. All Consultants, SAS doctors, Clinical Nurse Specialists and the 14 types of Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) across the clinical workforce are also required to have a job plan in place, these include:
1. Art therapists
2. Drama therapists
3. Music therapists
12. Prosthetists and orthotists
6. Occupational therapists
7. Operating department practitioners
14. Speech and language therapists
What’s included in a Job Plan?
As a healthcare professional, a job plan should include a list of your SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based) objectives to guide your career development over the upcoming year. The plan should outline the allocation of hours between clinical care and other supporting activities, allowing you to record value-added contributions which may not necessarily be patient-facing, ensuring all the magic that goes on behind the scenes is recorded too! This will enable staff to evidence any Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and lifelong learning opportunities in later appraisals, in alignment with regulatory and professional requirements. Whilst it might sound like quite an involved process, on an individual level, the job plan is easily updated and including all of these important components helps to ensure a skilled workforce, capable of delivering and improving high-quality care and services. Everyone’s a winner!
Purpose of Job Planning
Running an effective healthcare system as vast as the NHS is no easy feat, and the ultimate purpose of job planning is to meet the high demand for clinical services all year-round;, whilst also balancing the developmental needs of individuals and organisations, alongside maintaining high-quality patient care – it’s a monumental task!
For each individual, it’s important to ensure that the job plan reflects their day-to-day activity and objectives for the service. To do so, the manager must be involved with the process of creating one to ensure objectives are achievable, giving the necessary clarity for the role, as well as outlining where to expect support in a role.
Introducing new technologies to assist with the job planning process will allow the NHS to gain a greater understanding of how services are being used, as well as identifying any gaps between clinical demand and the available workforce capacity. Effective job planning for individuals and teams, as well as throughout the wider trusts, will promote a more coordinated approach to service provision and resource allocation, predominantly aiming to improve patient outcomes.
Job Planning for a Better Future
In essence, job planning is a crucial process within the NHS which offers a structured framework to improve the utilisation of healthcare professionals' skills, ensuring the best possible outcomes for both patients and staff. Regular reviews and adaptations of job plans are essential to align with the evolving healthcare landscape and meet the dynamic demands of patient care. Through fostering improved communication, teamwork, and work-life balance, job planning contributes to the overall successful deployment of NHS services across all trusts, foundations and beyond.
Feel free to get in touch with us at Premier IT today to discuss your job planning needs and see how our specialised software and dedicated support team can help.