|Leading the way|
|Monday, 21 November 2011|
Membership of the newly established Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management is now open to all doctors, secondary-care dentists and medical students. Peter Lees explains why leadership has never been more important for healthcare in the UK
Leadership and medicine have a long history together. For as long as people have sought advice on their ailments, doctors have been seen as leaders. Daily, we are asked to lead clinical colleagues, patients, profession and even the NHS; yet I am not sure we always see it as leadership.
Despite this, before the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management was endorsed by all UK medical royal colleges and faculties in January 2011, there was no single college or faculty responsible for developing medical leaders and leadership. The Faculty has arisen at a particularly timely moment in the NHS when it is vital that clinicians play a prominent role in leading the public sector out of the current financial crisis.
We obviously need great positional leaders but the financial challenge is so great that all clinicians need to play their part or it simply will not work. We have tried top-down management and leadership for a long time with significant success but does anyone believe that command and control will work forever?
‘We obviously need great positional leaders but the financial challenge is so great that all clinicians need to play their part or it simply will not work’
It is not wrong to focus on money unless we ignore quality at the same time. Importantly, leadership in healthcare impacts on quality every bit as much as it does on financial performance! Good executive leadership leads to fewer patient complaints and poor team-working in hospitals leads to alarmingly higher mortality than good team-working. Now tell me that leadership development is a fluffy optional extra taught briefly towards the end of training, never to be revisited!
The Faculty launched membership to all doctors, secondary-care dentists and medical students on 20 October 2011. We all pay plenty in subscriptions so the Faculty will be lean and driven from the bottom upwards. That is code for saying that if you agree with the need for doctors to play a significant role in NHS leadership, then you need to engage and drive the Faculty forward. We do not aspire to be independent of our parent colleges, faculties nor the Academy – our strength will be in adding value to the work they already do and in enhancing the leadership development activity which many are already engaged in.
Our membership research had an encouragingly large response (over 2,000), the majority of whom expressed the desire to join. A large membership will not only ensure our viability but will greatly help our advocacy role which many felt was important. Under-pinned by the Medical Leadership Competency Framework, we need collectively to define the standards of medical leadership and see this incorporated into revalidation. We will be inclusive and are working actively to bring together today’s leaders to share their knowledge and practice with emerging leaders with a fresh perspective and enthusiasm. There will be a national conference early next year, regional groups and virtual networking.
I return to the pivotal point. This is an exciting new venture which brings all the colleges and faculties together on a desperately important matter, the leadership of our health services. Time is not on our side, we face a financial crisis and, with the awesome combined abilities of the UK medical profession, we must play a major role in delivering the solutions. As a powerful, inter-collegiate body we must champion the link between excellence in clinical outcomes and highly proficient leadership, management and teamwork. The prize is the best healthcare system(s) in the world bar none! Now all you have to do is join and get your hands dirty!
Peter Lees, Founding Director of the Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management, Medical Director, NHS South Central Strategic Health Authority and Medical Director of the NHS Top Leaders Programme
written by AROTIBA GODWIN TOYIN , December 14, 2011
written by Aoife O'Sullivan, December 21, 2011