Writing a business case, while time-consuming, is not complicated – but getting it wrong can be costly and frustrating.
At a time when the healthcare system is trying to cut costs, nurses who want to improve or expand services need to able to write business cases that stand out and convince decision makers.
There are a number of national documents, frameworks and priorities of which they need to be aware.
The Care Act (2014) provided a legal framework for the allocation of money from the Better Care Fund, which organisations can access to promote the integration of health and social care.
The DH (2016a; 2016b) set out indicators and improvement areas to which NHSE would be held to account, which included: The key components of a business case are described in Table 1.
It is likely that your organisation already has a business case template; alternatively, examples can be sourced online.It is important to include stakeholders, patients and line managers in any initial discussions and brainstorm exercises.Qualitative and quantitative feedback from patients can give a strong sense of how services work and why gaps in services are a cause of concern.On 31 March 2016, NHSE published the NHS outcomes framework and indicators for 2016/2017 (DH, 2016b), which set the priorities for the coming year.The key themes were improving health, transforming care, controlling costs and enabling change.Nurses who want to get involved in writing a business case need an in-depth knowledge of the scope, feasibility and issues of the proposal.This will involve plenty of discussions with stakeholders.The Department of Health and the Department for Communities and Local Government (2016) have identified the national conditions that bodies responsible for Better Care Fund plans are expected to fulfil in 2016/17.Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) were announced in NHS planning guidance at the end of 2015.To increase the chances of a business case gaining approval, it can help to present it as part of a wider initiative, rather than in isolation.Writing a business case is a time consuming process that usually follows a period of data collection, audit and analysis.