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Exclusive: CEOs consider quitting over lack of support

by Lucy Trevallion
14 December 2015

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NHS England and the government must give managers more support, otherwise more CEOs will leave the health service, a new survey suggests.

More than two thirds of CEOs surveyed by the Institute of Health Management (IHM) believed a lack of support from NHS England and the government is one of the main reasons for the current disenchantment felt by leaders in the service.  

This was followed by financial restraints (56%) and a lack of confidence in the strategic direction of the NHS (50%).

Moreover, half of the 18 CEOs surveyed are considering quitting within a year. Of these only one of them is looking to find another position in the NHS, the poll found.

This comes at a time when a third of NHS Trusts already have posts at executive board level vacant or filled on an interim basis.

One CEO said “my current job is great, but I cannot see myself being able to keep up the punishing time and energy commitment as I move into my 60’s,” while another complained of being burnt out. Another said that the managers were “being made scapegoats” in a landscape of “too many conflicting priorities.”

However, rather than more money, the chiefs would prefer to have more support. The top incentives which could convince them to stay as leaders in the NHS were greater support, greater decision making freedom and less interference from other bodies, according to the survey.

Shirley Cramer, the chief executive of IHM, responded: “The dilution of central interference promised by the 2012 reforms of health and social care has failed to materialise.

“Instead, today’s leaders are dogged by a growing burden of regulation and inspection, an increased degree of political exposure and a blame culture that should have been long consigned to the history books,” she added.