Misalignment between policy and staff experience: the case of an Australian hospital redevelopment

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Purpose: Hospitals are constantly redeveloping to improve functioning and modernise the delivery of safe and high-quality care. In Australia, it is expected that different stakeholders have the opportunity to contribute to the design and planning of hospital redevelopment projects. The purpose of this study is to examine the potential for misalignment between policy (“work as imagined”) and staff experiences of a hospital redevelopment (“work as done”). Design/methodology/approach: A case study of a large Australian hospital in a capital city undergoing redevelopment. Forty-six semi-structured interviews were conducted with hospital staff. Staff experiences were identified in corroboration with additional data: key-informant discussions with members of the hospital executive; document analysis (e.g. hospital and government documents) and survey responses about experiences of the hospital redevelopment. Findings: A disjuncture was identified between policy and the experiences of hospital staff. Over one in every three (36.0%) staff felt uninformed about the redevelopment and 79.4% were not involved in decisions throughout the process of design and redevelopment, which contradicted the procedure laid out in policy for hospital development. Originality/value: Despite the seemingly “good news story” of allocating billions of dollars to redeveloping and modernising health services in Australia, the experiences of staff on the front lines suggest a lack of consultation. Rectifying these concerns may be integral to avoid fragmentation during the challenging circumstances of hospital redevelopment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-522
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health, Organisation and Management
Issue number4
Early online date15 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2021


  • Australia
  • Health policy
  • Hospital redevelopment
  • Staff experience


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