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25 February 2022
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Leadership in healthcare is under the spotlight – yet again

By Dr Paul Evans

FMLM Medical Director and Founding Senior Fellow

We have recently seen two examples of the need for good leadership in the NHS in England, along with the expectation being placed upon it, but these principles are equally applicable to health and social care in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Firstly, the Government’s response to the Health and Social Care Committee’s report, published in June 2021, on workforce burnout and the impact of resilience in both the NHS and social care[1], instructs NHS England and the Care Quality Commission to place greater emphasis on trusts’ ‘leadership and culture’ in their oversight and regulation[2]. Secondly, Professor Sir Chris Ham’s review for the NHS Confederation, Governing the health and care system in England: creating conditions for success[3], published this month, highlights the importance of leadership at all levels within integrated care systems (ICSs) that will be essential if there is to be appropriate delegation both from the centre to the ICS and within the ICS down to local/place level.

However, good leadership is not guaranteed. It will require considerable commitment and determination from – as well as resources invested in the development of – principals and participants. FMLM’s Leadership and Management Standards for Medical Professionals provide a sound foundation on which to build the collaborative leadership that will be essential for organisations and systems to work together to meet the challenges of inequality in health and social care, and the reduction in waiting lists. Since 2015, they have been instrumental in delivering FMLM leadership development work throughout the profession. Moreover, they underpin the necessary values and behaviours to create the environment for cultural change.

Application of the competency-based leadership attributes will enable individuals to perform more effectively as medical leaders and/or managers. Crucially, they will support the collaboration that will be vital for the various component parts of the healthcare landscape, including primary, secondary, community and social care. FMLM fellows and members now have both the opportunity and the responsibility to promote and develop these leadership capabilities across the various component parts of healthcare.  

[1] Workforce Burnout and Resilience in the NHS and social care – House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee (8 June 2021). Accessed at

[2] Trusts to be judged on ‘leadership & culture’ Government warns. HSJ (16 February 2022).

[3] Governing the health and care system in England: creating conditions for success. Report by Professor Sir Chris Ham.  NHS Confederation, supported by Palantir. (February 2022). Accessed at

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