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NHS England called upon to support the development of CCG leaders


13 May 2016

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A commitment is needed to develop GP leadership with a “joined-up” development programme for managers and clinicians to support current and future CCG bosses, says NHS Clinical Commissioners.

A commitment is needed to develop GP leadership with a “joined-up” development programme for managers and clinicians to support current and future CCG bosses, says NHS Clinical Commissioners.

A report from NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHS CC) based on interviews with clinical and managerial leaders at clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) called on NHS England to support the growth of a chief clinical leaders development network to give them a “safe space and time” to learn.

NHS CC chief executive Julie Wood (pictured) said: “Clinical leadership has had immense benefits for patients and we must nurture this or the NHS will be much poorer.”

GPs told interviewers from Hunter Healthcare there was an   “urgent need for a more forgiving environment” to nurture talent as commissioning leaders.

Amanda Philpott the chief officer of Hastings and Rother CCG and Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG in Sussex said clinical colleagues commented on the “lack of respect” which comes with a CCG leadership role.

The report also said there needed to be clarity about the three-year-old clinical commissioning system to encourage leaders.

They also needed assurance that CCGs “will not be at the mercy of a political whim.”

The authors said good leadership saw collaboration building on the strengths of clinical and managerial commissioners.

“Clinical leadership and managerial leadership are both needed to deliver quality improvement – that is why joint working between them is important.

“The ultimate goal is to have “managerially intelligent clinicians and ‘clinically intelligent managers’ who have built an effective working relationship,” the report found.

There should be a system to spot clinical leaders earlier in their career to help them develop the skills they need to lead CCGs, the report found.

It recommended that it was better to support clinical and managerial CCG leaders jointly, rather than separately as they have to work together.

 “They have to ensure different agendas are aligned, be stature political operators, understand the local healthcare system and contracts management, and master the NHS payments system.”

The also identified some key leadership attributes.

Top CCG leaders must have personal resilience and be strong enough not to buckle under pressure.

“Most CCG leaders will be familiar with a situation where the local media have raised an example of failing care or poor performance or where the mood at a public meeting has gone sour,” the report said.

Outstanding clinical commissioning leaders display a range of key qualities including resilience, openness and honesty.

They also have integrity, patience and emotional intelligence or the ability to recognise and manage their own and other people’s emotions.

A checklist of skills needed to be a “top” leader would also include excellent listening skills and “the ability to instill clarity of purpose.”

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