24 February - Mental health network webinar - governance during the COVID-19 pandemic

25 February 2022

This week’s session was joined by General Sir Gordon Messenger and Dame Linda Pollard as part of their engagement with leaders across health and social care to inform their review into health and social care leadership.

The guests shared some of the reflections they have received so far during their engagement with the sector, grouped under the themes of behaviours and culture, and standards and structures.

Behaviours and cultures:

  • Accelerate the move towards system leadership and collaborative behaviours – only form of leadership across the service. For reasons of accountability, history and human nature, individuals feel accountable towards their own organisation, but with the advent of systems there is a sense that different types of behaviours can be promoted and rewarded.
  • Lived experience of staff. Discrimination, blame culture and tensions within the workforce don’t contribute to good teamwork or good patient outcomes.
  • Everything always feels urgent within healthcare – how do we lift sights towards the future and focus on improving outcomes?

Standards and structures:

  • Career management lacks standards and qualities and clear career path. Great leaders at top of NHS gets there by accident rather than design.
  • Geographical variation. Risk of poor performing trusts getting worse and high performing trusts getting better. How to encourage people with skills in teams to go to more challenged areas with support and improve the area as a whole.

Overheard during the discussion:

“The ‘tap on the shoulder’ culture needs to be improved, and training around interview training and skills will be beneficial.”

“It’s really important to encourage people to work across organisations to build and develop experience. Working in different parts of the NHS, and outside of it, is important in helping people focus on integration and collaboration.”

“It can be more beneficial for people not to move to different organisations, which shouldn’t be incentivised.”

“The style of leadership that has been successful within the NHS in the past is now potentially not required as we move to more collaborative systems. There needs to be clarity and support for organisations and leaders to lead within this change, and this begins with an understanding of the expectation of a board within a wider system. There needs to be a focus on testing new ideas and checking whether these are working, as well as a focus on why things didn’t work in the past.”

“The acute-centric nature of the NHS risks the undervaluing of significant experience that exists in the mental health sector around collaboration and working in communities.”

These meetings are by invitation only. For further details, visit our events page.

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