Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Health policy and services, public administration, Organisation Theory

Publication Details

Irish Academy of Management Conference September 2009, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway Health Care and Public Sector Management Track


Whereas, in many OECD countries strategic planning in health care has been in evidence since the 1970s, in Ireland the emergence of strategic management processes in health care planning didn’t occur until the 1990s.

This paper reports on part of a comparative study of health services planning in Ireland and in Canada. How can the strategic management of the Irish health services in the form of service planning be implemented? The focus of this paper is the identification of two key stumbling blocks to success in this endeavour. These include the limitations of the control mechanism, the legislation, underpinning service planning and the lack of recognition of the complexity of the healthcare environment and the stakeholders within it, in attempting to introduce service planning as a means of strategic management and change. The Irish research is shadowed by a case study in Canada. This paper reports on the Canadian experience of public participation in planning, to align goals and targets with identified health needs in the population. In comparison to the Irish context, the Canadian planning system takes a two pronged approach; a population health planning approach at the corporate strategic level and multiple stakeholder involvement which is protected by legislation, feeding into this system on an annual basis.