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Mission, vision, and values statements in healthcare: what are they for?

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e4331 (Published 25 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4331
  1. Nadeem Moghal, consultant paediatric nephrologist, Newcastle, UK
  1. nadeem.moghal{at}ncl.ac.uk

Healthcare organisations, probably the world over but certainly in the UK, have aped corporate behaviour in other sectors in establishing statements of mission, vision, and values that purport to describe why they exist and set aspirational direction. Their statements can be found on websites in the “about us” section, in glossy annual reports, on posters staring at you as you wait in the emergency department, on headed paper, and maybe even on corporate mugs. Some if not all of these statements will have been the result of earnest and meaningful executive and non-executive soul searching on away days.

What is the primary purpose of a healthcare provider? Why does a healthcare provider exist? To coin a phrase, “To provide healthcare, stupid.” Who provides that healthcare? “The clinicians, stupid.” Do the clinicians need mission, vision, and values statements to remind them why they do what they do, why they come to work, and why they exist? Perhaps. After all, there seem to be enough examples of troubled services that would be served by a mission statement to remind staff why they are there.

A review of one region’s collection of mission, vision, and values statements, filtered through a word cloud application, which gives …

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