In a speech to The King’s Fund annual conference, Matt Hancock MP announced a series of measures to improve leadership in the NHS. His speech coincided with the publication of the Sir Ron Kerr review into the key challenges faced by executive leaders across the NHS.
Commenting on the Secretary of State’s speech and The Kerr Review, Suzie Bailey, Director of Leadership and Organisational Development at The King’s Fund, said:
‘NHS leaders face a near-toxic mix of pressures with widespread staffing vacancies, significant financial and performance challenges and a common culture of blaming individuals for failures beyond their control. It is little surprise that more than a third of NHS trusts have at least one vacant executive director role.
‘The Secretary of State is right to emphasise the importance of leadership and culture but the challenge is to translate this ambition into reality. Many of the actions announced today have been tried before and there is already a national framework for developing leaders in England which is only two years old. So the question is what will be different this time around?
‘Sir Ron Kerr’s report rightly highlights a top down, bullying culture which has been prevalent in the NHS for too long. This must change, starting at the top with the behaviour of national bodies.
‘We welcome the Secretary of State’s comments about the importance of diversity. There is a clear moral and business case for NHS organisations to make this a strategic priority and a strong link between valuing diversity and better patient care.
‘The message to national NHS leaders is clear – take culture and leadership seriously if you want to improve standards of care for patients. It is not soft and it is not optional.
‘Leadership and culture is core to the work of The King’s Fund and we have published a series to tools, evidence and guidance to support leaders in developing compassionate cultures.’