The King's Fund

Leadership and engagement for improvement in the NHS

  • Format: Printed copy

The NHS faces a number of challenges – driving up quality of care, making significant productivity gains, ensuring the government’s reforms work. To meet these challenges, individuals and organisations need to rethink the way in which power and responsibility are shared within teams and organisations and  across the health and care system. Leaders need to cultivate a strong culture of engagement for patients and staff and to deploy a range of leadership styles and behaviours.

Leadership and engagement for improvement in the NHS: together we can makes the case for engaging staff, patients and boards and for building relationships across systems of care. Building on the work of The King's Fund's 2011 Leadership Commission, the 2012 review has taken evidence from a number of national and international experts. Their evidence makes a compelling case for leadership and engagement:

  • organisations whose staff are engaged deliver a better patient experience, fewer errors and higher staff morale
  • engaging patients in their care can ensure that care is more appropriate and improve outcomes
  • increasing recognition of the importance of integrated care requires leaders to be effective across systems, both within and outside the NHS.

To make engagement a reality requires action at all levels, from the NHS Commissioning Board to the teams delivering care for patients. It also requires commitment to training and development of clinical staff in leadership skills from early in their careers. The unifying vision for every leader should be engaging for improvement with a clear focus on improving patient care and population health outcomes.