The UK government has promised “the biggest shake-up in health and social care leadership in a generation” as it published a review that criticised “institutional inadequacy” in the way the NHS trained, developed and valued managers.
The review by retired general Sir Gordon Messenger also found evidence of poor behaviour and attitudes among staff “such as discrimination, bullying and blame cultures in certain parts of the health and social care system”.
Some employees in the NHS, in particular, did not feel comfortable speaking up about their concerns, according to the report, which was produced jointly with Dame Linda Pollard, chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.
The report was commissioned last year by health secretary Sajid Javid as part of a drive to demonstrate the health service would secure maximum value from an additional £36bn raised from a controversial rise in national insurance contributions.
Javid said the NHS faced huge challenges in recovering from the pandemic, from tackling treatment backlogs to addressing widespread health disparities across the country.
“The findings in this report are stark, it shows examples of great leadership but also where we need to urgently improve,” he said, as he promised “the biggest shake-up of leadership in decades.”
The litany of failings identified in the report included “a lack of equal opportunity for managers to access training and colleagues to progress in their careers.”
The health department said strengthening leadership and embedding the best examples of management were “vital in ensuring every pound of investment is well spent, with the government investing a record amount in health and care services over the next three years to tackle the Covid backlog”.
The report set out plans to attract strong leaders to the most demanding areas in the NHS, with a package of support and incentives designed to ensure “roles in challenged areas are seen as the best jobs rather than the…
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