In pursuit of an ethical health service

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I read Scott Durairaj’s blog with sadness. He wrote emotionally and impactfully about his particular experience and perspective as a participant on one of the Nye Bevan cohorts.

I am disappointed that he had a poor experience and that some of his Nye Bevan colleagues, instead of being the source of learning, caused distress in their behaviours.

Diversity, equality and inclusion within the NHS are very close to my heart. From the moment I started in my role 18 months ago I made it a priority to locate the tackling of these issues, together with leadership that delivers genuinely better patient care, at the heart of the Academy’s programmes. I challenged our academic partners to provide a diverse and skilful faculty. I insisted that not only are all our programmes open to every member of staff providing NHS funded care, but that in very oversubscribed programmes we at least maintain and usually increase the proportions of BME applicants as they are selected to become participants. Unfortunately, the opposite is too often true in job selection processes that see a diluting of BME applicants from long list and short list to interview and appointment. Although I am pleased with the progress we are making, I know we still have work to do in this area if we are to support the NHS in rising to the challenges that are so well articulated in Roger Kline’s Snowy White Peaks – and which we responded to here.

I know I and other Academy colleagues have contacted Scott recently, including this week, and are always keen to explore how we can make our programmes the best they can be. I hear first-hand many very positive stories from participants on Nye Bevan and other programmes. I recently attended a range of diverse focus groups reviewing the Nye Bevan programme. There were honest messages about improvements to be sure, and yet the overwhelming message was one of very powerful learning.

I would welcome the opportunity to meet in person and explore together how all our programmes can deliver such learning experiences valued by all participants.

One thought on “In pursuit of an ethical health service

  1. Hi Chris,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my blog. It was I think February when I spoke and informed you of my experience on the Nye Bevan programme and I remain, as I always have, committed to a dialogue of lasting change and improvement that is both tangible and authentic in addressing the huge task of ethical and inclusive leadership in the NHS.

    When responding to challenge I try to lead by example and be open to negative experiences. Where we apologise for poor experience and then raise how many others have had good experiences only serves to further minimize the individual and marginalise them further. When leading care or delivering it clinically, as I have in the past, it serves our patients and service users an injustice to take this approach. Every bad experience is a “never event” and feedback should be approached like a clinician caring for their patient – one incident is one incident too many.

    I hope the NHS Leadership Academy models this approach too as it is charged with developing the NHS leaders of today and tomorrow. To get a different perspective on this point here’s a great blog by Sectioned http://sectioneduk.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/but-were-not-all-like-that/

    I am now aware my concerns are not isolated from direct contacts with other participants and with Roy Lilley mentioning he has received similar feedback in NHSManagers.net, as a collective we have the responsibility to be part of the solution. I’m hoping to get my next blog out next week to mark the ‘Ready Now’ event and I’m sure you will find some useful and helpful reflections and solutions to the challenges ahead for us all.