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NHS England to develop health manager guidelines so they are better supported

by Rima Evans
13 June 2024

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NHS England is developing a new code of practice for all managers and leaders in the health service to ensure they are ‘well-trained’ and ‘well-supported’, its chief executive Amanda Pritchard has announced.

At the NHS Confederation Expo 2024 in Manchester yesterday, Ms Pritchard said the organisation is working with Chartered Management Institute and others to create a framework of clear standards and competencies that supports managers at all stages, from entry level to middle-tier and board level.

The guidelines will also include a curriculum for the training and skills development that managers need.

Ms Pritchard’s keynote speech emphasised the need for ‘well trained, well supported managers’ within the NHS.

‘That’s what makes well performing teams,’ she said, adding that they are also ‘fundamental to fostering the kind of culture in which staff and patients can speak up and be listened to, and fundamental to every other challenge or priority the NHS faces’.

‘If we want a well-run NHS we must support those who run it. If we want leaders to be accountable, which we do, then we must give them the tools they need to do their jobs well,’ she went on to say. And she admitted, the NHS needed to do more not just to develop managers and leaders, but also ‘to keep them’.

When asked, after the speech, what the key attribute of an effective leader is, Ms Pritchard said ‘listening’.

‘It’s a balance of being able to hear honestly…. from patients, from staff what isn’t working, why isn’t it working.

‘Be curious and ask the follow up questions like why? If the data looks wrong, don’t assume it’s a data error, ask what’s behind this? But  equally, you need to hear the good stuff too, it’s a balance’.

‘The moment we start thinking we know best we have lost it’, Ms Pritchard added.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘We agree that the NHS needs well-trained and supported managers who are accountable for the decisions they make. We look forward to working with NHS England as it develops its plans for a new code of practice for all managers and leaders.’

Pic credit: Andrew Hendry