Mission statements of Dutch mental health institutions; the quality of communication with stakeholders
background As a result of recent reforms in Dutch health care, healthcare providers are having to operate more and more like commercial organisations and adopt some of the rules prevailing in the profit sector. Because missions statements can be an efficient means of useful communication with internal and external stakeholders they can make a useful contribution to the way healthcare institutions are managed and to their status and reputation. Research shows that in view of this the quality of the messages conveyed via mission statements is important.
aim To ascertain which stakeholders are mentioned in the mission statements of Dutch mental healthcare providers and to quantify the quality of the messages conveyed to them via mission statements.
method We examined the mission statements of 34 mental health providers to find out which stakeholders were included. The message conveyed to the stakeholders was quantified by means of a validated measuring instrument devised specifically for this purpose.
results Patients were referred to in all mission statements and the quality of the messages conveyed was of higher quality than the messages conveyed to other stakeholders. Other important stakeholders on whom the institutions depended were referred to much less frequently and the quality of sections of text referring to them was definitely inferior.
conclusion Mission statements frequently serve as management tool for Dutch mental healthcare providers. The potential benefits that these statements could bestow on the providers are not being fully exploited because the standard of communication with several internal and external stakeholders is of poor quality.