The Scalpel's Blog

24.01.20

Enhancing system leadership: The key role of non-executive directors

Words by Kevan Taylor and Dean Royles. Kevan and Dean offer their expertise to organisations and systems by providing strategic support, advice and development.

The run up to the general election provided much speculation and many promises about the NHS - more staff, more hospitals, more upgrades, faster GP appointments.  It seems it is a unique feature of our politics that the NHS is such a hot potato and such a political football for good and for ill. It is fantastic that the NHS, as a well loved institution, gets the limelight in election campaigns and manifestos, more investment often follows. However, it also creates constant speculation about the priorities of the NHS and how it is structured, creating uncertainty for staff, patients and healthcare leaders alike. It can be hugely frustrating.

Post election, speculation has now settled down. We can expect more announcements about nursing expansion and hospital new builds. That’s what new governments do. Importantly, we also know that Integrated Care Systems (ICS) are here to stay... until the next general election, at least!

The consolidation of ICSs as healthcare system drivers and enablers, means more investment in system leadership development. The way leaders work together collaboratively, is hugely important to the way any system works. The more mature the relationships between organisations and leaders, the more effective the system as as systems seek to become more transformational and to improve performance, this will become evermore important.

However, in our roles, as we engage with leaders, we often hear that decisions made in good faith by system leaders can come undone when they land back in individual organisations. Boards and, in particular, NEDs (and governors) as well as governing boards can feel uncomfortable and uncertain.

To some extent, this is no surprise. NEDs have a statutory responsibility to the organisation they are appointed to. Job descriptions and adverts often  make it clear that their accountability is to their local population and to the the organisation, there is often little reference to system working. Yet they are an untapped source of system knowledge and expertise. We need to engage them more in system leadership, enhancing and building on their organisational roles. They are often experienced directors from the public, private and third sectors with many skills not that common in the NHS and, they are committed to making things better for patients. They have skin in the game.

We can involve them more in;

  • - System Leadership work
  • - NED development programmes
  • - Peer networks
  • - Action Learning Sets
  • - Engagement programmes

Bringing their knowledge and expertise into the organisational development and design of integrated care systems.

They really could be key to unlocking our system performance and transformation.

We know from our conversations with Chairs, lead governors and governing bodies, that despite the obvious pull of statutory obligations and time constraints, there is significant appetite amongst NEDS, Governors and Governing Bodies to make a difference at system level. They know we get the best for patients when we work effectively in partnat system level.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

New £8.4m study launched into long-term impacts of Covid-19

07/07/2020New £8.4m study launched into long-term impacts of Covid-19

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have launched a major new research study into the long-te... more >
NHS Providers publish guide into NHS digital leadership

07/07/2020NHS Providers publish guide into NHS digital leadership

As part of efforts to help trust leaders build on the momentum achieved during the coronavirus pandemic and support NHS board lead their organisa... more >
Office of Health Economics urges supercharged R&D investment

07/07/2020Office of Health Economics urges supercharged R&D investment

A new report by the Office for Health Economics (OHE) has warned that without immediate action from the Government to “supercharge” p... more >

editor's comment

26/06/2020Adapting and Innovating

Matt Roberts, National Health Executive Editorial Lead. NHE May/June 2020 Edition We’ve been through so much as a health sector and a society in recent months with coronavirus and nothing can take away from the loss and difficulties that we’ve faced but it vital we also don’t disregard the amazing efforts we’v... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us through your career in healthcare? My parents both worked in the NHS on the frontline. My mum was a GP, and my dad was a nephrologist in inner city L... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

03/07/2020NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network Let’s take this opportunity to reflect on the amazing achievements of our health system over the past few months. But as we recognise the best of the NHS and its response to the Covid-19 crisis we must not forget that for mental health the peak has yet to come. Covid-19 ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >
332 304x150 NHE Callout banner.

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental health and wellbeing. As the best rugby players in the world repr... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >

health service focus

View all News

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >