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18 November 2022
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Reflections from the International Healthcare Leadership Conference 2022

Just under 400 attendees joined the two-day International Healthcare Leadership Conference 2022, which took place online on 9 and 10 November, representing the four nations of the UK as well as countries in each of the four hemispheres. Delegates were still registering and joining the conference throughout Day 1, safe in the knowledge that they could revisit the conference platform and catch up on sessions at times more suited to their individual schedules and time zones.

The mix of national and international viewpoints on the challenges common throughout global healthcare, along with some of the complex, nuanced solutions to them, clearly hit the mark for delegates. Post-conference feedback received so far has revealed high levels of satisfaction with the global perspective, along with the practical, evidence-based approach:

“The global insight added a lot of value as well as covering both primary and secondary care. The educational/more taught sessions on complexity and systems leadership were invaluable to break down these challenging topics for those new to the theory.” (Delegate's comment)

FMLM’s jointly owned journal, BMJ Leader, hosted three sessions, which explored: 'Fake News in the media'; 'Equity and Voice'; and 'Restoring care and kindness in healthcare'.

The session on 'Fake News' offered pertinent lessons on what clinicians can do to counter misinformation and steer a safe course of public education via the media and social media channels. First-hand experiences of leading the public health response following the Novichok poisonings in Salisbury in 2018, as well as dealing with misinformation and public concern around the Covid global health crisis, culminated in the panel's view that “we are in the business of promoting scientific understanding and evidence…it is an obligation to defend the truth”.

“…really appreciated the points about promoting truth rather than trying to tackle all fake news.” (Delegate's comment)

The 'Equity and Voice' session featured a panel of seven clinical leaders from North America, Europe, and the UK, who offered diverse and proactive experiences:

"...huge thank you to the BMJ Leader and FMLM 'Equity and Voice' panel. You have left us with lots to think about on how to amplify within our healthcare systems in ensuring equity and justice." (Delegate's comment)

The ‘Restoring care and kindness in healthcare’ session, which explored the view that modern healthcare has become industrialised and unsustainable, received warm reviews and the maximum possible score from attendees:

“Brilliant, engaging, and interactive session - it has given me a lot of ideas to take back to clinical practice. Really inspiring and motivating.” (Delegate's comment)

Sustainable and compassionate care was also the focus of the session on ‘What do leaders need to know about quality in the future, the multidimensional model: Introducing Mango Moments’, which shared a video, now famous across the Netherlands, showing the thoughtful actions of a nurse who brings a mango to her patient, based on a prior conversation, with this simple act having a deeply impactful effect on their wellbeing and self-worth. The session highlighted the need for personalised, attentive care.

Some of the most highly attended sessions were those which focused on the biggest issues affecting healthcare, which included:

  • The realities of leading healthcare systems in the UK
  • Sustainability: a little less conversation, a little more action please
  • Rethink inclusion to improve outcomes.

With Cop 27, the UN climate change summit, taking place in Egypt at the same time, the 'Sustainability' session had added impetus and generated a high level of interest among delegates. Session presenter, Hugh Montgomery, Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at UCL and a specialist in human health and climate change, had said: "To secure a liveable future, take appropriate action personally, professionally, today. There is no time left. No time to be complacent." Delegates were keen to discuss how best to move the dialogue away from the threat of doom and towards what can be done in healthcare, and with no budget. Responses included greater focus on prevention and keeping people well, and rewarding sustainable healthcare practice that delivers outcomes for the lowest possible environmental cost.

"...generated a lot of food for thought, and made me consider how I can establish change through leadership in my field." (Delegate's comment)

For the fifth year running, the four UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMOs) discussion session - this year chaired by Dr Daljit Hothi, FMLM Director of Leadership Development and Education - proved as popular as ever, as they shared their experiences and insights on leading healthcare through very difficult environmental, socio-political, and socio-economic times. Professor Sir Michael McBride, Sir Gregor Smith, Sir Frank Atherton, and Professor Sir Chris Whitty all offered their personal views on a range of topics, including: maintaining empathy as a leader; wellbeing and self-care; knowing when to ask for help and working collaboratively; the urgent need to address the issue of sustainability in healthcare; and the importance of trying to find solutions, and not just reiterating the problems.

“Really helpful discussion and so much of their experience and insight is relevant to us all in our own roles. It's not rocket science, rather understanding what has been shown to work.” (Delegate's comment)

The two-day conference culminated in a final session chaired by Dr Paul Evans, FMLM Medical Director and Acting Chief Executive, in which new opportunities were announced for the recognition of leadership skills and experience with the launch of International Fellowship for international doctors who are FMLM members, as well as Collaborative Fellowship of FMLM for non-medical clinical professionals interested in a leadership career; more details of which will be available soon.

"Final session covering diversifying ways to gain fellowships...lovely round off to a conference that has advocated for EDI and equity." (Delegate's comment)

Access to recorded conference content (and CPD credits) will be available to delegates on demand for six months. 

All feedback on this year's conference sessions is warmly invited, the conference feedback survey will remain open to delegates until 5pm on Wednesday 30 November.

Non-delegate colleagues interested in accessing post-event conference sessions and CPD credits can find out more and register here.


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