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NHS Employers boss Royles: 'Forget pride, let's learn from Rose'

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Sceptics of the Government appointment of former Marks and Spencer (M&S) executive chairman to review leadership at the NHS should not let their pride get in the way of improvement, NHS Employers CEO Dean Royles has said.

Royles told HR magazine that while private and public sectors were different, staff engagement was a common challenge for both.

Stuart Rose was knighted in 2008 for his successes in business and is credited for restoring the fortunes of retailer M&S. He is set to review NHS practices and make recommendations to the health secretary Jeremy Hunt about how the NHS can recruit top talent from within and outside the organisation.

He will also advise on how NHS trusts can improve organisational culture, through leaders becoming more visible and in-touch with frontline patients, services and staff.

Royles said the appointment was an opportunity for the NHS to “listen and learn”.

"The announcement about Rose has once again created column inches of parody about the differences between the public sector and private sector,” said Royles, who has been HR magazine's Most Influential practioner for the past two years.

“It's true that hospitals are open 24/7 and you can't simply close down a 'non-profitable' public service, but how we engage staff to give of their best is a common challenge to us all whatever sector we work in.

"I and many others won't turn down the opportunity to listen and learn from Sir Stuart,” he continued. "I'm not too proud to put possible improvement in patient care above difference about sectors. I hope he'll learn something from us too."

Rose’s remit includes investigating problems at 14 NHS trusts currently in ‘special measures’.

He said: “Clearly the NHS is a very different institution from M&S, but leadership, motivating staff and creating a culture where people are empowered to do things differently are crucial to the success of any organisation, and I’m looking forward to helping in any way I can.”

Alongside Rose’s review, the Government also announced that Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust chief executive David Dalton would conduct a second review, to investigate how to end the isolation of failing hospitals from the best NHS management and practice.