eQIPPing the NHS with engaging Leadership

09 Nov

eQIPPing the NHS with engaging Leadership

One of the main attributes required of our leaders and managers is a strategic agility to succeed within a very fast changing business environment. It has become very apparent that there is a world of difference between the old leadership styles, where the door of the boss was always open [but only for good news!] and the situation now whereby Leaders and Managers are required to be more strategic, engaging and much more about facilitating in order to inspire their staff.

(Image from New Statesman)

NHS out of hands

Anna Walker, Chief Executive, Healthcare Commission: ‘’Good leadership is absolutely fundamental to providing safe, effective healthcare to patients. There are fantastic examples, right across the NHS, of boards that have set a firm vision of quality care and are turning it into a reality across their organisation.

However, it is when we look at where serious failings have occurred that the importance of good leadership is most striking.

The Healthcare Commission has completed 15 investigations into serious failings of care at NHS trusts. These covered issues as diverse as learning disability services, maternity services and infection control. The consistent themes to emerge were poor leadership, management and team work in these organisations.

Boards of these trusts were not making sure that they were kept informed of important information such as rates of infection and trends in serious untoward incidents. This meant that they were unable to spot problems and take steps to fix them.

We saw boards that were focused on mergers or restructuring and so had taken their eye off what was happening to the safety of the patients. We spoke to staff who felt unable to communicate problems to their managers and who weren’t sure about who was responsible for important duties.

Boards of NHS trusts should learn from these investigations and ask themselves whether they could do more to strengthen leadership. Ultimately, the real power to drive improvements in our healthcare system lies with the leadership of NHS trusts, managers and clinicians. They need to exercise it on our behalf.”

So, can Trusts afford not to provide leadership & management training and to eQIPP their staff for the challenges that lie ahead?

Is now not the time to turn the talking into action? When does the time become right to discuss the requirements needed by staff to develop in order to build and maintain trust, communication? – to give staff the tools to cope with changes within the organisation as well as the opportunity for people at all levels to combine their strategies?

In a major study of global HR Directors the Institute of Leadership & Management has found that the traditional model for what constitutes a good leader is changing. ‘’CEOs and HR professionals now believe the ability to motivate, understand and inspire others is the characteristic that is most important when recruiting people to leadership positions.”

The NHS is charged with delivering better quality and more personalised care that is responsive to local needs and to put front line staff at the heart of running services. As Lord Darzi’s report notes, there needs to be high quality leadership at all levels of the organisation – in particular from clinical staff.

Dr Raj Kumar, National Co-ordinator for the NHS Clinical Leaders Network, NHS Connecting for Health: ‘’Good clinical leadership is absolutely vital to leading service improvement right across the NHS. To date, leadership development has been variable. However, ‘A High Quality Workforce’ report from Lord Darzi’s Next Stage Review has now placed a firm focus on developing and supporting clinical leaders to initiate positive change. Hospital doctors will be given their own budgets and GPs greater freedom under practice-based commissioning, resulting in the need for them to use their professional skills to assess the distribution of resources and take the lead in improving patient care. As a result, leadership skills are now being introduced in all medical training programmes.

Over the past two years, we have also developed the NHS Clinical Leaders Network (CLN), which empowers clinicians to lead positive change in their area through structured learning and peer group support. It also gives them direct access to policy leads, ministers and healthcare figureheads, enabling them to debate and influence policy reforms that directly impact on their working lives. With over 1,000 members participating in monthly or bi-monthly sessions, the CLN is due to be fully rolled-out across the country.’’

Catalyst delivers invaluable training programmes reflecting the QIPP agenda in conjunction with City & Guilds and the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM). These directly address the need to bridge the skill gap across NHS management teams who are at the sharp end with generic, straightforward and jargon-free leadership and teamwork training. This allows teams to develop their skills for the future that lies ahead within the NHS.

Catalyst is now running a series of highly successful  FREE Leadership & Management Best Practice Seminars . These venues provide delegates from a very broad spectrum and across a diverse mix of sectors, both public and private, with a platform where people with L & D and HR responsibility can meet and discuss strategic plans and practices and to either set in place or improve and maintain staff structure and on-going development within this ever changing business environment.


For more information about how Catalyst could assist your organisation please contact Richard Ayres Director of NHS services at  or visit our web site

1 Comment

Posted by on November 9, 2011 in NHS


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One response to “eQIPPing the NHS with engaging Leadership

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