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30
Nov

NHS needs to break down barriers for future leaders


Responding to the publication of Sir Ron Kerr’s review into empowering leaders in the NHS, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock says that barriers need to be broken down to give the NHS the future leaders it needs.

 

Speaking at the King’s Fund, the Health Minister said he wants to:

* Get more people with outside experience working for the NHS, such as mid- career business leaders

* Improve training and development, learning from the military, business organisations and the education sector

* Make the NHS better at nurturing the talent it already has, as currently only one third of NHS Chief Executives have clinical backgrounds.

 

He called on NHS leaders to lead by example to create a culture where their staff feel safe to speak out about mistakes, and where everyone understands the benefits of using new technology in healthcare.

 

He also spoke about the need to improve diversity in NHS leadership. This follows the government’s announcement in October that it will make black, Asian and minority ethnic representation in senior leadership match that across the rest of the NHS by 2020.

 

“I welcome what’s happening inside the NHS with the new Clinical Executive Fast Track scheme, the expansion of the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme, and the Leadership Academy moving to NHS Improvement.

 

“We need to equip staff all across the NHS with the right skills to constantly innovate and continuously realise the benefits that technology such as genomics, AI and digital medicines will provide. That starts with the right skills and capability in management and leadership,” Matt Hancock said.

 

Commenting on the Secretary of State’s speech and The Kerr Review, Suzie Bailey, Director of Leadership and Organisational Development at The King’s Fund, says: “NHS leaders face a near-toxic mix of pressures with widespread staffing vacancies, significant financial and performance challenges and a common culture of blaming individuals for failures beyond their control. It is little surprise that more than a third of NHS Trusts have at least one vacant Executive Director role.

 

“The Secretary of State is right to emphasise the importance of leadership and culture but the challenge is to translate this ambition into reality. Many of the actions announced today have been tried before and there is already a national framework for developing leaders in England which is only two years old. So the question is what will be different this time around?

 

“Sir Ron Kerr’s report rightly highlights a top down, bullying culture which has been prevalent in the NHS for too long. This must change, starting at the top with the behaviour of national bodies.

 

“We welcome the Secretary of State’s comments about the importance of diversity. There is a clear moral and business case for NHS organisations to make this a strategic priority and a strong link between valuing diversity and better patient care. 

 

“The message to national NHS leaders is clear – take culture and leadership seriously if you want to improve standards of care for patients. It is not soft and it is not optional.”

 

The King’s Fund has published a series of tools, evidence and guidance to support leaders in developing compassionate cultures. 

 

The ‘Empowering NHS leaders to lead’ review was asked to focus on three particular issues:

 

•  The expectations and support available for leaders - particularly those in challenging organisations and systems 

•  The scope for further alignment of performance management expectations at the organisational and system level

•  The options for reducing the administrative burden placed on executive leaders. 

 

It sets out recommendations across these three broad areas. Click here to read the full report.

 

The November/December issue of HEFMA Pulse has two features examining different aspects of the workforce challenges facing the NHS, including training, development, succession planning, staff shortages, diversity & equality and a reduction in the overall E&F workforce.

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