Sharing learning from the Mary Seacole programme to improve patient care

Part of the largest investment into leadership development the NHS has ever seen, almost 1,300 people’s learning and experience is being made available to share online. Graduates of the NHS Leadership Academy’s Mary Seacole leadership development programme are sharing their learning initiatives designed to improve healthcare provision and patient care in England.

The practical leadership initiative is a fundamental element of the Mary Seacole programme. Participants on the programme, mostly NHS employees or those delivering NHS funded care, are required to lead a change initiative to improve patient care in their organisations and develop their leadership capabilities. The results of almost 1,300 initiatives to improve patient care are now being made available via the NHS Leadership Academy’s website at


Chris Lake, head of professional development at the NHS Leadership Academy said: “Sharing the stories and evidence of on-the-ground improvement from the Mary Seacole programme will ensure the impact reaches as many people as possible. It will also ensure the participant learning continues to inform and improve patient care well beyond the lifecycle of the programme.”


“Our aim is simple, better leadership leads to more engaged staff and better patient care, experience and outcomes.” Chris added: “Over 31,000 people have signed up to Academy’s programmes and if every one of our participants shares their learning, the potential impact to improve healthcare is substantial.”


The experiences of the Mary Seacole programme’s participants vary but each leadership initiative shares a common thread of improving the quality, safety and experience of care for patients and service users. Here’s what some of the programme’s participants had to say:


“I’ve gained knowledge and tools that I can apply to future improvement projects. I feel that this will help me throughout my career to come in promoting continuous improvements to give the best outcomes for patients.” – Georgie Hill, senior paediatric audiologist and clinical scientist at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


“It’s much better to start off with a little change and the ripples will automatically lead to developing further. I feel that I’ve developed as a mentor and facilitator of other people’s development considerably.” – Louise Markwick, senior physiotherapist at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust


“As I progressed through programme I identified that the Trust needed more than just an education team of “inspirational motivators”. There also needed to be more recognition and commitment by managers to create a positive environment and culture in which staff felt valued, respected and supported, enabling any improvements made in training opportunities having a better chance of being sustained.” – Cherry Townsend, practice and development nurse, James Paget University NHS Foundation Trust


The year-long Mary Seacole programme has been developed by specifically for those who want to take on their first formal leadership role or have recently done so. It is fully accredited and leads to a Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare Leadership.

Read more about the Academy’s suite of programmes and their impact here.

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