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Guest blog – Jan Sobieraj, Managing Director at the NHS Leadership Academy

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Francis, NHS

In the Government’s initial response to the Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, Patients First and Foremost, the NHS Leadership Academy was cited as fulfilling the recommendation ‘for a leadership college, working with a range of academic and private sector partners’.

Since the report, we’ve been working at great speed to help drive policy, develop, deliver and commission a wide range of professional leadership programmes for all levels of leaders in the NHS and to make sure our offer is fit for current and future leaders, while meeting the demands of the new NHS. Both with their new role as commissioners in Clinical Commissioning Groups and the importance of truly influencing high quality patient care, clinical leaders are at the forefront of this.

The Academy has also launched the most far-reaching and comprehensive leadership development portfolio the NHS has ever seen. With thousands of applications from staff at every level of the system, the programmes are set to develop compassionate, well-equipped leaders, who put patients at the centre of the work they do. From the sheer volume of interest our programmes and offer have received from the health system (and further), and the conversations I have every day, I am aware of the impact our work is beginning to have. For example, our open access online programme – the Edward Jenner programme - currently has over 8,000 registered users, with delegates already finishing the course of modules.

In addition, we have launched nursing and midwifery programmes, are working with our local delivery partners to deliver the 2013 NHS leadership recognition awards and have developed a new leadership model – our newly researched and developed vision for good healthcare leadership, which will be useful for everybody working in healthcare. We have also refreshed and developed the Healthy NHS Board: Principles of Good Governance, made inroads with our inclusion agenda, and continue to offer the successful NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme and Top Leaders programme.

Although our offer is growing and developing, and we were extremely pleased with the huge response to our professional leadership programmes, it is unreasonable to assume the change in leaders will happen automatically. We have been met with great enthusiasm for the programmes with wide-reaching support from healthcare organisations across the country who are all absolutely committed to developing their staff and ultimately their services. It has been encouraging to see.

I believe all organisations, teams, leaders and professions now need to work together like never before to create cultures of safe, compassionate care, and I believe the true impact of the Academy’s work will take longer to bed-in and change culture. While we can deliver products and programmes at a considerable pace, the effects and results of these will take time to materialise. We know that some organisations are already starting to align their work with our approach – which is excellent – and we know it will pay dividends in the longer term.

We believe our work has the potential to unlock and enact massive change within the NHS; to help create environments across the country where the NHS workforce – whether working directly with patients or not – will put patients and the values as set out in the NHS Constitution at the heart of everything they do. We look to draw out the natural compassion our workforce already has, and to equip outstanding leaders for the challenges that lay ahead for one reason: our patients.

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