A Strategic Management and Portfolio approach


to improving health outcomes of people

living with life limiting conditions

in the Mid-West of Ireland



By Seamus Woods

Limerick, Ireland



A key challenge for organisations is not only to align their Vision/Strategy with a portfolio of projects that will deliver across all aspects of the Strategy but also, as described by Stretton 2018, ensure ‘strategic management is dynamic rather than a relatively static series of processes’.

In many organisations, even when there is a clear organisation strategy, there is the practical complication of choosing both the right initiatives and choosing amongst competing initiatives in order to determine the right portfolio that will achieve the strategy itself. This dilemma is sometimes further complicated by ensuring not only the right initiatives are chosen but also that there is a balance of projects across the portfolio to ensure that the key stakeholder outcomes are delivered.

The following Case Study utilizes a Strategic Framework (see below) to develop a Strategic Plan for Palliative Care Services in the Mid –West of Ireland for 2021-2025. Utilising this method ensured that there was:

  • A common understanding of purpose and shared vision for Palliative Care in the Mid-West,
  • A set of agreed strategic objectives that will deliver on the purpose and realise Palliative care vision,
  • A set of outcomes and success measures developed for each objective that will help us to set out what improvements are required and a way of checking progress,
  • A programme of initiatives that, when delivered, will translate the strategy into action,
  • A monitoring and feedback system to ensure that progress, when tracked, will indicate whether or not there is a need to take corrective


Palliative Care – What is it?        

The World Health Organisation (WHO) (2014) defines Palliative Care as “an approach that improves the quality of life of individuals and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual”.

In Ireland, Palliative Care Services are organised into specialist and non-specialist services that operate in partnership as part of an integrated network of providers. Many people still think of palliative care as a care provided at the very last stage of life, around the time of death. However, in the last twenty years, the scope of palliative care has broadened to provide palliative care at an earlier stage in the disease trajectory. In this model of integrated palliative care provision, palliative care is not dependent on prognosis and can be delivered at the same time as curative treatment. National Clinical Programme for Palliative Care 2018


To read entire case study, click here

How to cite this paper: Woods, S. (2021). A Strategic Management and Portfolio approach to improving health outcomes of people living with life limiting conditions in the Mid-West of Ireland, case study, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue IX, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/pmwj109-Sep2021-Woods-strategic-portolio-approach-for-paliative-care-in-midwest-Ireland-case-study.pdf

About the Author

Seamus Woods

Limerick, Ireland


Seamus Woods, IPMA-A, PMP is Project/Portfolio Consultant and former Head of Portfolio Management across the Irish Health Services. He is a faculty member of the Irish Institute of Project Management and has over 30 years of experience at Senior Management level within the Health Services and more than 27 years’ experience of project/portfolio management and change management as a practitioner, instructor and leader.

Working initially in the former Mid-Western Health Board, he held senior roles at Board, Strategic and operational levels across a range of services. With the advent of the new health Service Executive in 2004 Seamus set up and led a national projects office for the community services sector.

In 2010 he was seconded to Children services as Head of Change Management to programme manage the setting up of a new National Children’s Agency (TUSLA) and its associated Reform programme.  He returned to the Health Service Executive in 2013 as Head of Portfolio Management for the Health Reform Programme and subsequently was Chair of the National PMO Leads Group overseeing the roll out of local PMO offices.

Seamus can be contacted at seamus.woods@gmail.com

To view other works by Seamus Woods, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/seamus-woods/