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Five steps to assessing population need (1 CPD hour)

The NHS Alliance's Dr Shane Gordon provides a guide to finding out what your population needs.

Learning objectives

This module advises on how you can find out what your population needs, to commission services effectively:

  • Analysing your population's health trends
  • Assessing the value for money of your services
  • Understanding the effectiveness of your preventive services
  • Measuring patient experience and engaging on a less formal level with the public
  • Identifying small groups with specific needs, such as minority ethnic groups, the travelling population or students

After reading this article you will be asked to record your learning points and some action points to earn a suggested 1 CPD credit. Below are some suggested questions to reflect on as you work through the module:

  1. Could you use your local Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) to prioritise efforts on practice-based commissioning?
  2. Can you benchmark your local outcome and activity data against similar areas in the UK?
  3. Could your resources be better used in the management of long-term conditions?
  4. Could you involve patients and public more in prioritisation of commissioning effort?
  5. Could you focus more on smaller populations within your cluster?

This module was first published on 19th January 2011 and was up to date with all key guidelines and evidence at that point. It will be reviewed as part of our routine update cycle by 19th January 2013 but will be updated sooner to reflect any key guideline changes.

Dr Shane Gordon is co-lead of the NHS Alliance GP Commissioning Federation and a GP in Tiptree, Essex.

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