What do we really know about leadership of health services?

“There is clear evidence of the link between leadership and a range of important outcomes within health services, including patient satisfaction, patient mortality, organisational financial performance, staff well-being, engagement, turnover and absenteeism, and overall quality of care.
Leadership and leadership development in health care: The evidence base.  King’s Fund, Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management, and the Center for Creative Leadership, February 2015, p23

NHS Leadership Academy

The NHS Leadership Academy offers practical, targeted, locally-available and accessible world-leading leadership development for everyone working in primary care. They provide a wide range of support at all levels, from coaching and mentoring to graduate scheme placements and talent management. Download the prospectus for primary care to find out more.

According to research for the NHS Leadership Academy there are a number of reasons why primary care staff not engage with national leadership programmes including:

  • Lack of awareness
  • Programmes are for people who work in secondary care/ in large organisations/ want to step up into a management role
  • leadership training is not relevant for their roles.
  • Lack of budget for training
  • Lack of time
  • Don’t want to be “leaders” and don’t want their colleagues to see them as “leaders”
  • A leadership course is for senior people
  • No encouragement from managers

Read How might leadership roles evolve in integrated health and care systems? (2021) prepared by SCIE for the NHS Leadership Academy. The report  provides an overview of research carried out to better understand how leadership roles are changing in the sector, especially in collaborative and integrated health and care systems.

Read the Breaking Blue (2018) Leadership Development Insight in the Primary Care Sector prepared for the NHS Leadership Academy.

South East Leadership Academy

Kent Surrey and Sussex and Thames Valley and Wessex Leadership Academies came together on 1st April 2020, forming the South East Leadership Academy. The SE Leadership Academy offers a range of programmes and interventions tailored to the needs of those that work including Network support and development; Team development; Individual leadership development: Patient and citizen leadership: Coaching and mentoring; Consultancy and bespoke solutions: Graduate management scheme and Talent management.

Wider NHS opportunities

General Practice Improvement Lead programme – a personal development programme with small cohorts of up to 35 people to build confidence and skills for leading service redesign in your practice or federation. The modular programme consists of six days in total, completed over three to four months.

NHS Collaborate is a mutually supportive community of leaders across primary care  supported by the NHS England General Practice Development Programme.

HEE Leadership Learning Zone includes modules which cover all aspects of healthcare leadership including: Coaching Skills, Influencing stakeholders, Talent Management, Stress Management, Understanding yourself, Managing People, Managing through change and Unconscious bias.

Developing People Improving Care is the national framework from NHS Improvement for action on improvement and leadership development in NHS-funded services published by NHS Improvement.

Leadership Learning Directorate of Health Education West Midlands includes a range of resources compiled by the Leadership Learning Directorate of Health Education West Midlands to develop outstanding leaders in healthcare.

Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management – part of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.  A network of FMLM GP champions aims to “inspire, equip and support GPs at all career stages to enable a rewarding career in roles within and beyond general practice.”

LeAD –  Leadership for Clinicians is an eL-fH e-learning resource to support clinicians, of all professions, to develop an understanding of their role in contributing to the management and leadership of alth care services

Other resources

Kings Fund Leadership development programmes for people in different situations across the health system, including  Board leadership, for consultants, Clinical Directors and for GPs.

Leadership Online: a Directory of Resources is a directory of leadership and management development elearning and online resources will be of interest and value to leaders and managers everywhere, especially in the NHS and the public sector in the UK. Check out the page of NHS leadership resources.

Centre for Creative Leadership (CCL) is a source of excellent resources  including practical information on today’s most pressing leadership issues and a free Leading Effectively e-newsletter/ blog.

HealthKnowledge , originally designed for public health staff this site now includes resources for all health and social care staff on a variety of different subjects ranging from information and intelligence for commissioners through to undergraduate training and a range of ‘soft skills’ required for an holistic education, such as leadership and management, and collaborative working for health.

Changing minds  Just think about some of the great leaders that the world has seen – and the impact they have had on the lives of other people. Leadership has much to say changing people’s minds, often in fundamental ways. Read about the theories, styles, the Follower-Leader loop and other articles on Leadership.

Free Leadership eLearning aligned with internationally recognised qualifications (ILM or CMI) has been developed by Businessballs and Accipio on their eLeadership Academy leading to a Level 3 Award, Certificate or Diploma. (Accreditation fees apply.)

The CPD Zone is brought to you by the GP schools of Health Education England working across Thames Valley and Wessex, in association with Oxford Health FT Library.​

Page last reviewed: 19 March, 2021