Background: This is the tenth in a series of papers reporting a program of Sustainability in Health care by Allocating Resources Effectively (SHARE) in a local healthcare setting. After more than a decade of research, there is little published evidence of active and successful disinvestment. The paucity of frameworks, methods and tools is reported to be a factor in the lack of success. However there are clear and consistent messages in the literature that can be used to inform development of a framework for operationalising disinvestment. This paper, along with the conceptual review of disinvestment in Paper 9 of this series, aims to integrate the findings of the SHARE Program with the existing disinvestment literature to address the lack of information regarding systematic organisation-wide approaches to disinvestment at the local health service level. Discussion: A framework for disinvestment in a local healthcare setting is proposed. Definitions for essential terms and key concepts underpinning the framework have been made explicit to address the lack of consistent terminology. Given the negative connotations of the word 'disinvestment' and the problems inherent in considering disinvestment in isolation, the basis for the proposed framework is 'resource allocation' to address the spectrum of decision-making from investment to disinvestment. The focus is positive: optimising healthcare, improving health outcomes, using resources effectively. The framework is based on three components: a program for decision-making, projects to implement decisions and evaluate outcomes, and research to understand and improve the program and project activities. The program consists of principles for decision-making and settings that provide opportunities to introduce systematic prompts and triggers to initiate disinvestment. The projects follow the steps in the disinvestment process. Potential methods and tools are presented, however the framework does not stipulate project design or conduct; allowing application of any theories, methods or tools at each step. Barriers are discussed and examples illustrating constituent elements are provided. Conclusions: The framework can be employed at network, institutional, departmental, ward or committee level. It is proposed as an organisation-wide application, embedded within existing systems and processes, which can be responsive to needs and priorities at the level of implementation. It can be used in policy, management or clinical contexts.
- Resource allocation