Hospital Dr News

Retired Army General to run wide ranging review of NHS leadership

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid has launched a ‘far-reaching’ review of NHS leadership in England.

Javid has appointed a former vice-chief of the defence staff, Gen Sir Gordon Messenger, to lead the work.

Under the terms of the review, Messenger will be asked to look at the best hospitals, GPs’ services and social care delivery to work out how this can be replicated across the country.

However, some NHS leaders see it as a political move to shift the blame for long, post pandemic waiting times on to service providers.

Commenting on the announcement of a new review of leadership in health and social care, Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, said: “As the health and care system moves away from a period defined by competition to one where collaboration and partnership working are much more important, it is useful to think about the leadership skills required now and in the future.

“We know that compassionate and inclusive leadership is key to successfully delivering good-quality care. It is critical that the review does not focus on efficiency at the expense of the leadership qualities needed to ensure that staff feel valued and able to deliver the best possible care. 

“The history of the NHS is dotted with reviews of management and leadership by leading figures from outside the NHS that have failed to have significant impact, so the government will need to be clear what will be different this time.”

Strengthening leadership

The Government said strengthening leadership and spreading the best examples of outstanding management is vital in ensuring that every pound of investment is spent well.

Javid, said: “I am determined to make sure the NHS and social care delivers for the people of this country for years to come and leadership is so important to that mission.

“We are committed to providing the resources health and social care needs but that must come with change for the better.”

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