NHS Leadership Academy launched to create managers of the future

David Woods , 13 Apr 2012


The NHS Leadership Academy has been launched in a bid to become a “world class” national centre to produce and inspire current and future generations of NHS leaders to drive improvements in patient care.

It is hoped it will help develop outstanding leadership in order to improve patients’ experiences, their health outcomes and their wellbeing.

To do this it will work with doctors, nurses, health professionals and managers from across the NHS. It will also work with public health and social care, and with local government, where Health and Wellbeing Boards are key to improving health and care outcomes.

Secretary of state for health Andrew Lansley unveiled plans for the Academy in July last year.

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson said: “The ethos is simple. NHS success is dependent on great leadership right across the service, across clinicians and managers. Great leaders create working climates where people working with them feel engaged, empowered and satisfied. Those people in turn have a direct positive impact on patients’ experiences and their health outcomes. Everyone working for, with or on behalf of the NHS has a crucial role to play in this, as we focus on our purpose of improving health outcomes for our patients.”

“We face huge challenges across the world of health, social care and public health. Our leaders must be better equipped and more innovative than ever before. Vitally, they must be able to work in an integrated way across health and social care, to make sure people have a consistently good experience of our services.

“Developing outstanding leadership has never been more important than now.”

Jim Easton director of transformation for the NHS Commissioning Board, added: “The Academy will provide expertise and support to help the leaders we have now. At the same time it will support the development of a new generation. They will steer the NHS into a future, which builds on our existing strengths and adds new ones, championing clinical leadership, inclusion, equality and diversity, and encouraging innovation.

“People will be able to access this learning and support from an ‘entry’ level to the most senior and experienced leaders. The Academy will give them all tools, techniques, support and behaviours to help them engage and enable their staff, partners and patients, as well as continually improving standards.

“'With change at a scale and pace the NHS has never seen before, the fundamental difference between success and failure is the calibre of leadership.”

The Academy launches its new website ( with video stories from some of the NHS’s most inspiring clinical and managerial leaders about their work and its impact on the NHS and patients.

The Academy has four main areas of work:

  • Developing the approach to leadership: defining and promoting what good leadership looks like, based on the recently developed Leadership Framework; setting national standards for leadership development and talent management with frameworks and toolkits; rewarding and recognising outstanding leadership (the 2012 NHS Leadership Recognition Awards are being run by the Academy and nominations have now opened
  • Providing and commissioning a range of cutting edge national programmes: in total these will make up the single largest training programme for leaders in the world and culminate in the professionalisation of leadership in the NHS. They include: the Graduate Management Training Programme for the most; Breaking Through to support leaders from BME communities; Top Leaders for those in the most senior roles; the Clinical Leadership Fellowship Programme, along with career development programmes with different entry levels for different staff
  • Supporting the development of local leadership capability: providing expert support for local NHS and key partner organisations to sustain and promote leadership in their area
  • Supporting changing and developing parts of the NHS system: developing shared leadership approaches with local government and providers of NHS services; providing frameworks for Foundation Trust governors and Clinical Commissioning Group development; supporting leadership for innovation and QIPP


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Iain Buchanan 13 Apr 2012

Why is this going to be any different from the myriad of other schemes, either previously or currently in place? NHS Management is not poor,it simply struggles to do an essentially impossible job. Namely, that of reconciling politician's fanciful aspirations and unrealistic public expectations with budgetary realities and the Realpolitik of day to day management of an over stretched and perennially under-resourced organisation .

What a Pity !

Peter A Hunter 13 Apr 2012

What a pity. This whole idea is based on the premise that the NHS depends on great leadership. Complete nonsense, the NHS depends for its service delivery on the people who deliver the services. People who are in contact with the customers of the NHS every day and know intimately what they need in order to deliver that service. These are the professionals who every time the budget is cut have their ability to deliver those services reduced while the managers who make those cuts soak up more and more of the resources of the NHS that should be spent on service delivery, not on non-value adding number crunchers. Now we see another layer of administration training another layer of managers to do the one thing that the NHS cannot afford, more people soaking up resources while making it increasingly difficult for the people who really add value, frontline medical and support staff, to do their jobs. The product of this management menagerie are going to have no option but to believe that what they do is wonderful and thus perpetuate the same administrative effort that is currently strangling the NHS to death. What a pity. Peter A Hunter

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