4. Develop an action plan

You will probably find that as you have collected and analysed the health needs information, your ideas about the key issues to be addressed have developed. You may even have started to identify possible solutions to any problems which emerged.

How you take forward these ideas and agree priorities will depend on your original aims and the culture within your CCG and/or GP practices.

To help you compare or judge the proposed changes it is helpful to agree a simple set of criteria against which they can be measured.  These will vary with local circumstances, but they are likely to cover issues such as the health benefits that will be gained, the cost, and the feasibility of achieving the change.

Your priorities may not be the same as those of your patients and the local community. You may therefore need to address their priorities before your own, if you want to secure their support, particularly if your Health Needs Analysis is being used to support a business case for new premises, an extension or new services.

In drawing up your action plan it is important to set measurable targets and agree realistic timescales in which to achieve them.  You may find it helpful to use the SMART acronym below:

Where possible try to describe the outcomes you are hoping to achieve. You should be able to quantify the outcome in some way, even if this is expressed in qualitative terms such as a change in patients perceptions.

You should also agree who is going to lead each action and identify the resources require to achieve it.

You may wish to share your action plan with other local providers, or to integrate your plan into your business case or bid to demonstrate how you will achieve health improvements within the specified population.

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