NHS Leadership Academy to launch largest ever development programme: leading with compassion

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The new NHS Leadership Academy is launching the largest and most comprehensive approach to leadership development ever undertaken – by any organisation.

More than £46m will be invested in three core programmes for leadership by 2015.

This will see up to 10,000 people each year – including around 5,000 nurses and midwives following an announcement by the Prime Minister this weekend – learn how to lead their teams to deliver compassionate health care.

And approximately 1,200 front line health workers will benefit in the coming months before the full programme gets underway in September 2013.

It is hoped that the qualifications the programmes give will eventually become essential criteria for those applying for relevant positions in the NHS.

They will sit alongside a new £2.7m programme for as many as 300 aspiring nurse directors, which will launch in the coming months, as well as the award winning Graduate Management Training scheme and Top Leaders, for the most senior Board level leaders.

Karen Lynas is deputy managing director of the NHS Leadership Academy and head of programmes. She is the person responsible for bringing the core programmes to life.

She said: “When people come in to contact with health care staff they are often at their most vulnerable. They should be treated with compassion, respect and dignity and feel cared for.

“The programmes we put in place will help those who lead our health system, from ward sisters to senior managers, create the kind of work environments where care and compassion are experienced by all their staff, so they in turn can provide compassionate care to their patients.

“We want to create a generation of leaders who not only provide exceptional care to patients, whether directly as a clinician, or indirectly as a manager, but who act as role models and inspirational leaders for the next generation of NHS professionals.”

Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive and General Secretary, Dr Peter Carter added: “The RCN is fully supportive of this initiative, having long championed the leadership roles of nurses throughout the NHS. From ward sisters and community matrons to directors of nursing, we know that effective leadership can make a big difference to patient care. However, there has been a lack of investment in leadership training in recent times and we therefore welcome this programme by the NHS Leadership Academy.
“We look forward to seeing further details and working with the Academy to take this project forward.”

Procurement is now in the early stages for the programmes, which will be designed in consultation with the NHS, to ensure they deliver exactly what’s needed. They will be managed and delivered together with new NHS local delivery partners across the country and will follow the principles of good practice and expertise in leadership found in high performing organisations around the world. They will enable the healthcare sector to develop a professionalised, standardised approach to leadership that builds in compassionate, respectful and high quality care for all patients.

The programmes will be relevant for all staff but will provide a transformational vehicle for clinical professionals, particularly nurses, intending to take on leadership roles in health.

Jan Sobieraj, Managing Director of the NHS Leadership Academy, added: “Great leadership will be at the heart of the transformation which needs to take place across the health system if we are to meet the health, financial, quality and reform challenges we’re facing.

“This is not about tweaking around the edges; it’s about industrial levels of innovation and change. Our core programmes will develop leadership at a scale which has never been done before so we can create a health system which stands up to those challenges, and overcomes them, and one which has compassion at its heart.”

The three core programmes:

•    Foundation leadership programme
Leading to a post-graduate diploma in leading compassionate health care and aimed at those who are aspiring for a role which has a significant recognised element of leadership of others.

•    Mid-career leadership programme
Leading to a masters in leading compassionate health care and aimed at leaders who are aspiring for a role that is third in line to a statutory Accountable Officer level and/or is a role leading people who themselves lead teams, projects or services.

•    Executive/senior leadership programme
This will be aimed at leaders who are aspiring for a role that has Executive level accountability and is at, or reports to, a statutory Accountable Officer level or is a recognised senior national or system wide role.

All programmes will include an emphasis on the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to lead radical service redesign with a focus on patient experience and health outcomes in a more integrated system of care.

The programmes are at the heart of the new NHS Leadership Academy’s mission to deliver outstanding leadership in health, in order to improve people’s health and their experience of the NHS.

All the programmes are underpinned by the evidence based Leadership Framework, which described what good leadership looks like in health and has been adopted across the health professions.

A comprehensive suite of tools to support effective talent management and succession planning will also complement this work. Organisations will be expected to use robust talent management processes to identify potential entrants to the programmes.

The Academy is involved in a huge amount of other work to help develop outstanding leadership across the health and social care system, including with CCGs, Foundation Trusts, Health and Wellbeing boards and new national organisations. It also works with regional organisations where a local delivery partner system is currently being created, and runs programmes for specific groups of health care staff, including the successful Clinical Leadership Fellowships programme, which launched last month for 80 clinicians from around the country.