Sir Stuart Rose to advise on NHS leadership

14 Feb 2014 03:52 PM

‘Super-heads’ review on how best NHS CEOs could take-on failing hospitals

Sir Stuart Rose, who turned around the fortunes of Marks and Spencer, will advise how another British institution, the NHS, can attract and retain the very best leaders to help transform the culture in under-performing hospitals, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced today.

It will run alongside a separate review into how the NHS can make better use of its best existing leaders, so-called “superheads”, who could spread the highest standards for patients across the system by taking on struggling organisations or establishing national networks of NHS hospitals and services.

Sir Stuart, one of the most highly-regarded business leaders in the country, will advise the Health Secretary on how the NHS can build on existing work to recruit top talent from within and outside the NHS.

Drawing on his experience as a former M&S chairman, he will also advise on how NHS trusts can improve organisational culture, through leaders being more visible and in touch with frontline patients, services and staff.

In a separate review, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive, Sir David Dalton, will look at how to end the isolation of failing hospitals from the best NHS management and practice – a key finding in the wake of the Mid-Staffs inquiry.

Sir David will investigate how to enable the best-performing NHS organisations and most successful chief executives to establish national groups of hospitals or services as beacons of excellence. This could include non-geographical networks of hospitals under one leadership team where one NHS trust has hospitals around the country.

Sir Stuart will particularly look at the problems faced by the 14 trusts currently in “special measures”, the programme to turn-around failing hospitals introduced last year, where strong leadership was identified as key to improvement.

A report published today by NHS regulators Monitor and the Trust Development Authority shows that the 11 hospital trusts placed into special measures in July, and a further three since October, have each made significant strides towards improving patient care but more still needs to be done. Progress has been made at all 14 of these Trusts, including:

  • 650 extra nurses or nursing assistants

  • 130 extra doctors

  • 49 leadership changes

Alongside this, the 11 initial special measures trusts have already delivered 38 per cent of the urgent and oversight actions in the Keogh Mortality Review, and a further 58 per cent of these actions are on track to be delivered on time.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

Everyone wants the peace of mind of knowing their local hospital offers good care - so turning round hospitals where this is not the case is a critical priority for me as Health Secretary.

Good care should never depend on your postcode, which is why new Ofsted-style hospital inspections are so important. But the difference between good and bad care can often lie in leadership, which is why I am delighted that one of the country’s most inspirational leaders has agreed to advise me on how we can attract and retain the brightest and best managers into the NHS so we transform the culture in under-performing hospitals.

We can also do more to exploit the extraordinary leadership in our best hospitals by making it easy for NHS super-heads to take over struggling organisations. Sir David Dalton is one such leader, who with his team has turned the Salford Royal into one of the best hospitals in the country. He will advise me what more we need to do to enable our best hospital leaders to take over the running of hospitals in difficulty without compromising the success of their own Trusts.

Through a series of hospital visits Sir Stuart will mentor NHS leaders and examine the challenges facing doctors, nurses and management boards. He will provide advice in an unpaid capacity until the end of the year when he will submit a short report to the department.

More than 1,300 people from outside the NHS have already applied for 50 places on the NHS fast-track leadership programme that involves study at Harvard, starting in June. This 10-month programme by the NHS Leadership Academy will include executive education by Harvard Kennedy School, an industry placement, and six months delivering a transformational change programme in a top NHS Trust under a Chief Executive mentor.

Sir Stuart Rose said:

Clearly the NHS is a very different institution from M&S, but leadership, motivating staff and creating a culture where people are empowered to do things differently are crucial to the success of any organisation, and I’m looking forward to helping in any way I can.

Sir David Dalton will look at:

  • The extension of the buddying and mentoring schemes in the special measures hospitals programme

  • Management contracts so that outstanding leadership teams can take on a more formal relationship

  • Improving incentives for our best NHS hospital trusts to take on turnaround projects and extended management responsibilities

  • A new framework for NHS providers who are appropriately credentialed certified as the go-to people for turnaround projects and extended management responsibilities

  • The arrangements which could enable local and non-geographical networks of hospitals or services under one leadership team

Sir David Dalton said:

The NHS is making encouraging progress in identifying great care but also in dealing with sub-standard care – but in order to take the next decisive step forward, we need to create new NHS organisational models which allow for the best care found in successful NHS Trusts to be extended to those hospitals who experience difficulty in meeting standards for patients. I am delighted to accept the Health Secretary’s invitation to examine how strong and stable leadership from our managers and clinicians can make a positive impact. We need to see how we can spread best practice and make more use of both our talented people and reliable systems, for the benefit of more patients.

Background information

Sir Stuart’s review excludes ownership structures, out-sourcing or the use of the private sector in providing NHS care.

The 14 Trusts in special measures are:

  1. North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust
  2. United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  3. East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust
  4. George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust
  5. Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  6. Tameside Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  7. Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  8. Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  9. Medway NHS Foundation Trust
  10. Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  11. Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  12. Colchester NHS Foundation Trust
  13. King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust
  14. Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust