This report published by the King’s Fund explores leadership and management in the NHS and in particular the model of the ‘hero’ chief executive, prevalent in public service over recent years.
The report conclusions challenge some of the negative attitudes towards managers, and questions current plans for major reductions in management and administration costs. There is a clear message that the NHS will be able to rise to the financial and quality challenges it is faced with only if the contribution of managers is recognised and valued.
The report suggests that leadership development needs to extend ‘from the board to the ward’. One of the biggest weaknesses of the NHS has been its failure to engage clinicians – particularly, but not only doctors – in a sustained way in management and leadership. Individuals within the service, and its providers, need to be given both the ability and the confidence to challenge poor practice. Management and leadership needs to be shared between managers and clinicians and equally valued by both.