December 2017: Focus on Leadership
Welcome to the Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) newsletter. The purpose of this edition is to share some of the work we are doing at HSMC to develop, support and evaluate leaders and leadership in healthcare.
The quality of health and care services is predicated on the quality of their leadership. The current context calls for leadership at every level in the system, whether as frontline leaders, emerging leaders, experienced clinical and professional leaders or patient leaders. For senior and Board-level leaders there are particular challenges: not only to take up a role as systems leaders at the same time as leading effective high-performing organisations, but to do so at pace and to bring staff, politicians and the wider community with them.

At HSMC our core purpose is to strengthen the leadership and management of health services. As a leading centre for teaching and professional development in health and social care we bring together the worlds of academic research, policy implementation, leadership practice and organisational development to deepen our understanding of health service leadership and management and deliver leading-edge teaching and leadership development interventions to national and international healthcare systems.

This bulletin provides an introduction to some of the leadership and organisational development activity undertaken at HSMC, with a full overview available from our website. Additionally, we work with consortium partners to design and deliver award-winning programmes for the NHS Leadership Academy, including the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson MSc and the Nye Bevan programme for aspirant directors.
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HSMC on leadership: our research and teaching
Experts by experience
Rebecca Ince, Research Fellow at HSMC, has blogged on a theme increasingly important in healthcare leadership: the principle of co-production with service users - or ‘experts by experience’. Her article highlights the importance for researchers of considering co-production, the pitfalls and some of the major considerations if service user involvement in co-production is to achieve its potential impact. Although Becky’s report focuses on the work she and colleagues have been doing in mental health, the themes are relevant for anyone considering how best to co-produce research with service users.
Project overview ».
Ethical leadership
How do medical leaders make wise and ethical decisions, when there are multiple factors to consider and when the ‘right’ decision in one circumstance may offer little guide to the best and most ethical decision in another? In a recent Viewpoint on ethical decision making Mervyn Conroy and Catherine Weir report on a 3-year research project Phronesis and the Medical Community, where they use interviews with doctors at various points in their clinical practice to understand how medical leaders approach decision-making. The project seeks to develop a video-based resource to support future doctors in training and practice to make ethical decisions, grounded in a shared wisdom and experience.
Project overview ».
Systems leadership
HSMC works with many leaders in health and social care to help them develop their skills and confidence as systems leaders on programmes such as the recently-launched 21st Century Leadership Programme for Aspiring Public Health Directors. This ground-breaking programme has been designed and developed by a team bringing together academic faculty, research and library staff, admin staff, leadership and OD specialists and senior managers from across the University of Birmingham working with Public Health England and the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS). What lessons have we learned about how to collaborate effectively to develop and deliver high quality programmes? How can we apply our understanding of complex systems leadership to our own collective leadership efforts? This article by HSMC Director of Leadership Belinda Weir turns the systems leadership lens onto our own processes to identify some of the key learning.
Programme overview ».
Medical leadership
One of the key recommendations highlighted by the Future Hospital Commission report 2013 was the need to establish a new, senior leadership role for trainee doctors, with a focus on the delivery of high quality, safe care. The chief registrar scheme which was set up as a result supports clinical leaders to develop the skills they need in consultant posts, and also gives them the confidence and profile to pursue local and national senior leadership roles in the future, such as medical director and chief executive. In his recent Viewpoint Medical leadership: At a tipping point? Senior Fellow at HSMC Iain Snelling discusses an evaluation of the scheme, which seeks not only to develop junior doctors as effective leaders but also to serve as role models for the future. As such, the scheme has great significance for the future of medical leadership and the evaluation highlights key features of the scheme, with particular insights into leadership for improvement.
Evaluation report ».
Aspiring Healthcare Leaders programme: it's back!
The West Midlands Aspiring Healthcare Leaders programme is being re-launched in Spring 2018. The programme ran very successfully for several years and helped many leaders step up to a senior leadership role in healthcare. With a continuing focus on the needs of those who aspire to a Director-level role, the refreshed programme is aimed at those who are operating at a senior level in a provider or commissioning organisation in the West Midlands, and wish to be Directors (or equivalent) within 2-3 years. The 4 module programme runs over 9 months and includes a range of experiential activities including working with an external organisation as management consultants. A more detailed flyer will be circulated in the new year. Watch this space! For more information please contact Hilary Brown or Iain Snelling.