“Create environments where staff feel empowered to provide compassionate care to patients,”
Karen Lynas, Interim Deputy Director of the NHS Leadership Academy
Karen Lynas, speaking at the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management’s annual conference on Tuesday (16th October), said leaders need to create environments where compassionate care is seen as being just as important as effective clinical treatment:
She said: “Leaders from all professional backgrounds in the NHS have led a remarkable renaissance in the service for the last 10 years: doctors in this room will remember when they met patients after a year of waiting for an appointment and had to tell them they would need to wait another two years for surgery. Waiting times, access and quality of care have all improved remarkably. But that has come at some cost, and leaves us with a legacy of leadership that is not fit for the future.
“A leadership style based on pacesetting is what our managers and clinical professionals have drawn on in the past to deliver effective care. And while this worked well for the last 10 years it won’t in the future. We now need to create a climate where staff feel engaged, empowered and valued.
“We know that there is a weight of evidence suggesting that feeling loved during treatment has an enormous positive impact on health. We want our patients to feel that they have access not only to high quality of clinical treatment, but also that they are receiving loving, compassionate care.
“As leaders, our job is to create an environment where staff continue to feel able to provide that care – and they in turn need us to treat them with the kind of compassion we want them to give. This virtuous circle is much more likely to create a climate where staff feel liberated, engaged, empowered and valued – and that’s a working environment which is much more likely to lead to better health outcomes for our patients.”
The NHS Leadership Academy recently announced that it is launching the largest ever leadership development programme for clinical professionals and managers: leading with compassion. More than £46m will be invested in three core programmes for leadership by 2015.
This will see thousands of people each year – including around 5,000 nurses and midwives – learn more about how to lead their teams to deliver compassionate health care.
It is hoped that the qualifications the programmes give will eventually become essential criteria for those applying for relevant positions in the NHS.
Discover more about the Academy’s new core programme.