NHS leadership plans unveiled by Lord Darzi after MPs slam poor management

The NHS will introduce a new leadership council to help nurture the next generation of senior management.

Plans for the National Leadership Council (NLC) were unveiled by health minister Lord Darzi and the chief executive of the NHS David Nicholson yesterday, just days after MPs criticised poor management across the NHS, which they claimed was stifling reform.

The NLC will be formed of 18 NHS senior staff across “priority areas”, including clinical leadership, board development and emerging leaders.

It will aim to:

  • Gather intelligence and evidence on leadership skills
  • Set standards for what makes a good leader
  • Commission relevant leadership development programmes and
  • Ensure leadership capacity is improved across the NHS

Improving leadership across the health service was a key commitment in High Quality Care for All, Darzi’s review of the NHS, published last summer.

Darzi said: “Strengthening leadership across the service is vital as we enter this new stage of reform.

“We have a responsibility to learn continuously, seek development and career opportunities, and spot talent. This is where the National Leadership Council comes in. The council will act as a guardian for leadership in the NHS, setting standards and campaigning for change.”

By July, NHS Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) will also be expected to have assessed the state of talent and leadership across their areas and set out measures for improving talent at a regional level. SHAs were set up in 2002 to improve health services in their local area. There are 10 SHAs in total.

The Department of Health also published new guidance for talent and leadership planning yesterday, which aims to help SHAs design their own leadership development plans.

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