National Health Service: Services and Operation Management

Subject: Administration and Regulation
Pages: 8
Words: 1972
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: Bachelor


An efficient business organization has to develop and adopt theoretical framework models of operation that would yield maximum benefit to the organization. Operation management system as employed in running of businesses calls for good understanding of the operation processes so that customer satisfaction and business obligations of an organization are both guaranteed. According to Deokjai and Ata (2008), fault management, topological management, community and virtual group management are among some of the strategies that can be used to adjust to current market needs to ensure business goals are achieved. This essay seeks to define and analyze operation systems models that can be adopted by various businesses to achieve their main objectives. In this regard, this paper will critically apply the knowledge of operation systems that will include a sample a case study of National Health Service (NHS) Direct of the UK and how the use of the operation management models have helped in realizing the goals of the organization.

Operation Management Systems

Operation management is a field of business studies that involve the creation of goods and services in a responsive way that will ensure that the business processes are efficient in regard to the use of available resources. The operation management system must also ensure that the needs of clients are fully satisfied. An effective operation system will ensure the management lays a formidable ground that would ensure inputs in terms of labor, material, and energy result to output production in terms of goods and services.

Conventionally, operations management refers to the creation of goods and services in two perspectives. It is mainly concerned with the aspect of value addition for an organization’s program in a given line of goods/services provision. In essence, value addition should be mainly guided by market availability and ability of an organization to provide optimum service/good delivery through implementation of top business processes performance.

Operations management is that field of business that deals with the directing and managing of both technical and physical responsibilities of an organization; mainly geared towards manufacturing, production and development. In a narrower classification, operations management is responsible for instituting general working principles, defining all the production/manufacturing processes, sustaining equipment management, controlling production levels, coordinating the factors of production, systems analysis among other responsibilities. All these must be well coordinated and monitored to ensure flow of operations of an organization.

Theoretical Framework Models

To jump start the analysis of theoretical models used for instituting operation system of a business organization is the linear model. Pollock &Leys (2006), assert that “according to this model, researchers need to present their findings in a convincing manner when policy decisions are being made, and if they are convincing enough their findings will be taken into account, and will from then on be incorporated into policy.” This policy procedure is a step-by-step action plan that originates from reform issue to be instituted and ensures a full implementation. The intermediary stages that linear model undergoes involve agenda phase and decision phase. At the agenda phase, the issue is looked into in terms of relevance after which decision is made for or against a certain reform issue. Finally, at the implementation stage, the reform issue is either categorized as successfully implemented or unsuccessfully implemented. If it is unsuccessful, there is need to verify either the institutional strengths or fortify political will that may have led to its failure.

Secondly, there is the theoretical model known as translation of technology under which an organization finds solution to current problems in the community by employing the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). IT has provided an avenue for creation of new products some of which can be sold online for efficiency, convenience and responsiveness. With the introduction of IT solutions, management hierarchy has duty to develop new policies that would ensure the adoption of ICT processes. Though not all of the IT solutions will be implemented in their natural state, there would be a need to translate their context of application to another form to cater for the needs of a new concept. The success of this theoretical model relies on understanding between two parties in communication and time and effort have to be dedicated towards achieving this feat (Cater-Steel, 2008).

Thirdly, there is the tipping point model that is based on how understanding is derived from a given occurrence or acceleration of a trend and to consider such occurrences and trends as social epidemics. In this model, ideas and products spread very fast and due to exposure or sharing of information. A social epidemic can result from small issues or due to dramatic fall or rise of demand of a given product at a given time. “That moment, ‘when everything can change all at once’, he calls ‘the tipping point’,” (Pollock &Leys, 2006). The proponents of this model argue that small adjustments in information can make a significant change in market situation.

Lastly, Kuhn coined the model known as crisis or paradigm shift model whose scientific ideas are only incorporated following failure of conventional scientific ideals (when there is crisis). When there are a number of unresolved issues in the community, a number of suggested ideas are looked into in search of new answers. The proponents of new ideas hold the opinion that the conventional methods do no longer hold substance in resolving current challenges; hence, Kuhn sees a paradigm shift in operation management as the way to resolving a crisis.

Services Provision at the NHS Direct and the Key Management Issues

National Health Services (NHS) is one of the largest organizations in the health care service sector worldwide and the largest employer in UK. It has grown to become the most successful health care providers in the UK satisfying the needs of patients and it is fully funded by UK tax payers (Pollock, Leys & Price, 2006). The categories of services NHS Direct offers include: provision of advice and health information that is delivered via telephone communication all over England, 24-hour call center service offered seven days a week, digital TV services relaying information on a number of diseases, conditions and how to use NHS services more satisfactorily, web link through which NHS Direct services can be reached for worldwide, among other cutting edge technologies. “NHS Direct has more than 2.5 million people using its services per month and it costs less than £2.80 per head of population per year,” (NHS Direct Annual Report, 2009).

Services and operations management model that suits the organization perfectly is the transition of technology that is purely technology-based (Ronen & Pass, 2007). NSH Direct services are based on information provision to link patients and health services outlets. As a result the organization has grown to become a leading service provider in UK employing most people. Adoption of translation of technology model has enabled the organization optimize on experienced labor of recalled nurses who mainly quit NHS due to disability. This group constitutes 20% of total employees of NHS at the moment. NHS saw a chance to bring back workforce nurses who departed NHS due to acquired physical disability as they can now offer their services via the call-based nursing care. An instant where NHS operation services management used translation of technology model is when it developed non-English-languages programs to cater for the needs of some minority groups. Welsh program was developed for clients who did not understand English.

Another business model that is relevant to the case of NHS Direct services is linear model. The need to reform the health care service provision by the NHS was the reason for a strategic launching of NHS Direct that would become health care service provider for clients via call-based solutions. The project was rolled out in 1998 following Ministers directive for the project team of NHS Direct to come up with call-based and online service products to solve healthcare issues. Just like the other problems encountered in initiating a new operation system, the pace of implementing this model was lowered following a stand-off between responsibility of site managers from either sides of Trusts’ management and NHS Direct project team. The adoption of linear model underwent a series of consultative meetings with all stakeholders from GPs, British Medical Association among others, a feat that led to the setting up of Advisory Group in the year 2000 to formalize a consultative structure. Finally the service was successfully launched.

The linear model was successful in its implementation following a procurement of £70 million AXA system. According to the Public Accounts Committee (2002), this success has made NHS Direct the world’s largest telephone-based healthcare service advice providers popular with the public. The report also notes that services have good safety record with minimum negative events. As a result, the initial service targets set by the organization were either partly or wholly met. Staff shortage was one of the main reasons why some targets were not met and to resolve the matter, the human resource management department resorted to recruitment more staff. This has grown to make NHS become an organization with the largest number of employees in UK. At the moment recruitment has remain dormant despite 20% capacity growth posing a potential challenge. “ When we’ve got the capacity we give a good service but if the capacity isn’t there, then you can quickly cross the line, so it’s going to be challenging,” (Ronen & Pass, 2007). As a management measure the HRM wing should look into further recruitment of more staff to ensure the clients get the best of services NHS Direct could possibly offer.

Lastly, theoretical framework models of paradigm shift and tipping point are applicable in the NHS Direct scenario. It was a paradigm shift that NHS took to launch NHS Direct to counter modern life challenges that are solvable through ICT processes. Through the paradigm shift model, the organization is able to provide nursing consultation via call centers with the aim of making recommendation for a patient or even link a patient with services of his/her interest. “It is aimed at NHS Direct to be in a position to act as a national service with universal clinical standards to provide a gateway to other services, either by people calling it directly or by automatic transfer from a GP practice,” (Ronen & Pass, 2007). A part from the incorporation of ICT use, NHS does not have any other modern scientific policies to resolve health matters from this given case study material.

There is an instance where tipping point model was used by the NHS Direct to resolve customer needs. The first situation has been looked into in the linear model; that is, dealing with the need for non-English service programs. The second instant where tipping point model was used by the NHS Direct to resolve an urgent customer need was evidenced when the organization offered information base when avian flu cases were reported. Avian flu became a social epidemic that threatened the population and there was need to offer guidelines and reassurance in response to possible epidemics and relevant health alerts resulting from avian flu. NHS came at the point of customer need and that makes an organization gain popularity and confidence in service delivery, (Bettley, Mayle & Tantoush, 2005, Shim & Siegel, 1999).

Recommendations and Conclusion

Business service operation systems are the basic foundation under which an organization can realize its obligations. There are a wide range of operation frameworks that an organization could adopt; though it is also possible that an organization come up with its own. The effectiveness of an operation model depends on a business’ level of discipline in ensuring all goals are attained. The models as applied by the NHS were effective enough despite some complaints raised by customers. All policies adopted by a given organization should reflect customer satisfaction as the prime obligation as practiced by NHS administration.


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