How can Policies and Procedures help your organisation operate more efficiently?
Policies and procedures are core to the provision of a safe and high-quality service in all healthcare organisations. Having well-documented policies and procedures in place allows individuals involved in a service to know what to do in certain situations. The Mental Health Commission defines a policy as a written statement that clearly indicates the position of the organisation on a given subject and a procedure as a written set of instructions that describe the approved and recommended steps for a particular act or sequence of acts. They ensure compliance with standards and regulations, create systematic processes, provide guidance to staff and assist with decision making.
Policies and procedures are often seen purely as paper work, and incorrectly so. If we use them as a way of looking at what we are doing, seeing how we can improve it, and agreeing how we are now going to do it, they can be highly beneficial. Central to creating effective policies and procedures is getting staff involved. Through discussion, staff can participate in determining what works and how it can be improved. By documenting processes in the form of policies and procedures staff must consider and agree different aspects of each process.
The development of practical and effective policies and procedures should result in:
- Consistency – Continual adherence to agreed process based on best practice.
- Clarity – How we carry out procedures specific to this organisation.
- Education and Training – Support staff in understanding their responsibilities, in particular new staff.
- Improvement – Developing and reviewing policies and procedures require staff to stop and consider what they are doing.
- Team Work – Involvement of multiple staff members is necessary to ensure comprehensive and practical policies and procedures.
- Assessment – Provides a framework for assessment against your organisation’s defined processes.
- Improved Care – Standardisation of care and service delivery is essential to improving the care and service provided.
- Accountability – Provision of compliance in relation to standards and regulation.