A Fellowship with a difference

The NHS Leadership Academy is spearheading an innovative new partnership with leading global healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the UK.

The Academy, a new, national organisation created to develop outstanding leadership in health to improve people’s health and their experience of the NHS, has teamed up with GSK to offer a challenging fellowship program with a difference, where dynamic and self-motivated NHS staff have the opportunity to work on leading edge healthcare issues within GSK’s UK Pharmaceuticals’ Healthcare Information Team.

The NHS fellows, who currently work as healthcare professionals or managers, will work and learn in tandem with GSK colleagues for two days a week for 12 months at the company’s UK Pharmaceuticals office in Uxbridge – the remaining time will be spent in their home organisations.

Located within GSK’s UK Government Affairs and Policy Team, the Healthcare Information Team will draw useful insight from the NHS and social care landscape to help the business develop and evaluate customer-led solutions.

Three NHS fellows embarked upon the unique scheme in November 2012, with a fourth due to join in March 2013.Throughout the scheme the fellows are partaking in a knowledge exchange – sharing their own specialist health, social and public healthcare knowledge with GSK – while at the same time gaining knowledge and experience about ways of working within the private sector, to help benefit the NHS.

Ed Tallis, one of the fellows, trained as a physiotherapist. Following a time at Leeds General Infirmary he moved to New Zealand. On his return to the UK he worked in a GP fund holding practice and then in physiotherapy management before becoming the first non-GP professional executive committee chair of a Primary Care Trust. He gained an MBA in 2002.

Ed, aged 47, from Askham near Penrith in the Lake District, has been the deputy director of service development at an acute trust in West Yorkshire, helping it to become a foundation trust and is currently an associate director of operations at North Cumbria University Hospital Trust.

He says of the scheme: “GSK’s values strongly resonate with my own. I’m an advocate of working collaboratively for the benefit of patients and the fellowship brings about a new and exciting opportunity for the NHS and industry to learn from each other.”

He adds: “When I leave GSK, I hope to be remembered as someone who made a positive difference and helped to change beliefs between the NHS and industry for the better.”

In addition to the fellowship scheme, as part of the reciprocal partnership with the Leadership Academy, five Commercial Management Trainees (CMTs) from GSK joined NHS trusts across the country this month on a secondment basis for two days a week over nine months.

Each CMT will deliver a specific and bespoke project that is of value to the NHS and will be buddied up with a trainee from the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme, which is hosted by the Leadership Academy, and boasts an alumni that includes three out of the last four NHS Chief Executives. This aims to support joint organisational learning, sharing of ideas and cultures and enable the development of a learning network between both training schemes.

Fran Wilkes, 23, from London, a CMT at GSK, is working at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust on a project that covers three hospitals, namely Northern General, Weston Park and Royal Hallamshire.

She says: “My project is across specialised cancer medicine, communicable diseases and rehabilitation. I will be leading on and delivering a full business case on the feasibility of integrating patient records across all the directorates within this care group, and identifying any financial and efficiency gains that doing so would bring to the trust. I’ll also be project managing a pilot of an electronic patients’ record system in the spinal injuries unit. This will then form a business case for the next five years to meet the trust’s strategic objectives of moving to a paperless system.”

She adds: “These secondments are an excellent opportunity for trainees like myself to gain a breadth of knowledge and experience that will stand us in good stead in our future career.”

Jan Sobieraj, Managing Director at the NHS Leadership Academy, says: “Both the Fellowship and the CMT scheme have been designed to embed leadership skills into the wider health and social care system. Our collaboration with GSK is a model of true partnership working between the NHS and the healthcare industry that will be crucial to delivering better health outcomes for patients in the coming years.”

Sue Middleton, VP Corporate and UK Government Affairs, GSK adds: “GSK and the NHS share a common goal – improving patient care. The Fellowship and the CMT schemes are an excellent opportunity for the public and private sector to learn from each other, share best practice and increase understanding in order to deliver on this goal. Both parties have a lot to gain and we are already hearing positive feedback from both the NHS fellows and the GSK CMTs involved in these schemes about the valuable insight that they are gleaning. We look forward to continuing these successful schemes for the benefit of the NHS, GSK and ultimately patients.”