The NHS Leadership Academy was directly mentioned in the statement as being charged with developing a programme that will identify, support and train outstanding leaders. Being mentioned at this level, confirms to me what we have known all along – the Academy is here as an enabler to transform culture and services as well as reinforcing the importance of leadership development as part of the transformation and cultural shift towards quality of care, compassion, patient outcomes and experience.
Everywhere I go I hear “it’s down to poor leadership”, “we need great leadership”, “we need strong commissioning leadership” and “fantastic clinical leadership and sound Board leadership”. I’m pretty certain people are not saying the same thing, even if the words are the same. Often, they are seeking heroes and heroines to come in ‘to save the day,’ or only strong, charismatic, tried and tested NHS experienced practitioners. I don’t think it’s enough. Of course, these folk have a crucial role to play. However, we also need people who bring a different approach, who will look at wicked issues from a different perspective, bring a range of leadership styles which can be flexed to meet the needs of the situation – be it coaching, facilitation, engagement, direction and vision.
The Academy is building on its very successful Leadership Framework to describe in a revised Leadership Model what great leadership should look like in the health system. We’re working with our local delivery partners, staff at every level across the healthcare system, patients, clinicians and best academic thinking to reflect the values of the NHS, what we know about effective leadership, what we have learned from the Leadership Framework and what our patients and communities are now asking from us as leaders.
As part of our commitment to develop outstanding leadership we are working with people from across the wider health system (including social care and public health) and as well as the professional development programmes, we promote great leadership, signpost to the best, provide advice, support the transition in organisations, provide challenge and ultimately identify current and future talent and support local networks to develop this further.
We aren’t the only team interested in generating and supporting current and future leaders, but we have a commitment, passion and expertise to ensure the NHS and wider system responds effectively to the challenge to have better leaders in the future. With that said, it’s always important that you share with us your views and experiences that will help shape the future of our NHS.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to mention the HSJ’s 50 most inspirational women in health. The first ever list was revealed by the HSJ this week and I must extend my congratulations to our own, Karen Lynas and Yvonne Coghill who have both been recognised for their contributions to health and social care services as well as to all those listed. They certainly are an impressive group and I hope they with others can support our work and individuals to be the best they can be.