19 February 2021 – NHS Non-Executive Directors webinar

19 February 2021

This week’s session opened in conversation with special guest Tony Warne, NED at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Tony commented: “I cannot overstate the value of these NED-to-NED peer meetings. I have met people that I normally would not have met and it is brilliant to get a sense of what is going on around England.”

“It has taken us a while as NEDs and organisations to realise that this [pandemic] is not going away quickly. It has been a real challenge starting in a new NED role and not being able to go into the hospital and has taken much, much longer to build a rapport with NED colleagues. I quite embraced Zoom and teams working during the first lockdown but a year on my diary is constantly filled with these meetings as people feel they can get hold of you a lot easier. You don’t always know what you’ve got until it’s gone so not going into the hospital, having internet issues and not chatting with colleagues in the same way has been hard.”

“One of the things that has come out of COVID is what I call naïve questioning. It was about people wanting to explore explanations about why we were doing things and why in that particular way which meant that non-execs had a much broader view of what was going on in the trust.”

Also overheard during today’s webinar:

“NEDs have an inherent tendency to be strategic, but during Covid they have been dealing with exec teams preoccupied with operational challenges. Especially as a new, place-based future opens up, the NED role can and will be crucially important.”

“I’m both curious and concerned about NED involvement in terms of the white paper. I feel that our COVID ways of working and the requirements on us to allocate more and more lead NED roles are moving us away from the independence that is core to our ability to do our job. This will apply at ICS level as well, which is why some ICSs are hiring their own NEDs.”

“The world is changing and changing fast. We are being drawn more to health and away from healthcare, which is a good thing. But the demand on NEDs in all of this change has not been thought through, analysed or planned for because a) you will need a different sort of NED and b) it’s a different contract with different sorts of responsibilities and different degrees of responsibility. We’re behind the pace at the moment and GGI is important in this as it operates in that future zone and can give us warnings about what is coming and how to prepare.”

These meetings are by invitation and are open to all NHS non-executives directors, chairs and associate non-executive directors of NHS providers. Others may attend by special invitation. For further details, visit our website https://www.good-governance.org.uk/events/.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions about these webinars, please contact: events@good-governance.org.uk