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Skills investment key to NHS reforms, says MCA.

Department of Health

London: Greater investment in the leadership skills of its staff will help the UK's NHS make the most out of planned reforms and respond to major challenges, according to a new report by the MCA (Management Consultancies Association).

According to NHS: A prescription for the 21st century, GPs and Foundation Trust managers are hopeful about the outcomes of the impending and controversial NHS restructure, but feel that they lack relevant leadership and talent management skills. As highlighted in the report through a series of case studies of consultancy work in the NHS, getting leadership right in healthcare leads to the most direct improvements in service for patients.

Developing leadership programmes and building up the skills of GPs and clinicians who will play a leading role in budget allocation and local care provision under the Health and Social Care Act should be a priority, the MCA report argues.

Alan Leaman, CEO of the MCA said, "Whether we agree with the new legislation or not, the practical tasks of delivering change in the NHS should now be the top priority.

"By investing in the development of leadership skills for GPs and clinicians and with a series of other practical interventions the NHS can drive improved patient care and cut costs, while maintaining its basic principle: to be a free service available to all at the time of need.

"This report sets out some of the challenges facing our health service and suggests ways they can be overcome. Organisations faced with change of that scale often draw on external expertise and skills. The NHS should be no different."

Right Management carried out a survey of GPs and hospital managers to see what their feelings are about the proposed changes:

  • 77% believe that there will be more efficient and less bureaucratic decision making
  • 71% believe that there will be a better quality of service for patients and that overall efficiency will improve
  • 65% that there will be a more equitable service for all

In the same survey:

  • GPs were asked to rate the most important areas in their new roles against their own level of expertise. On a scale from 3 to 9 (with 9 being most important/highest level of expertise), GPs rated leadership with 7.1, but their own level of expertise with as low as 5.9
  • Foundation Managers cited maintaining staff productivity and having the right skills available within the organisation as two of the main challenges during the period of change

This MCA report is based on research with MCA member companies and a compelling set of case studies that illustrate how successfully implementing change can help the NHS face increased budget pressures and demand for its services.

The report also identifies a series of other practical interventions that will help the NHS:

  • Joining the gap between social care and medical care
  • Creating a health system that prioritises returning people to work
  • Overcoming the significant barriers to patients exercising choice
  • Utilising data and new technology to cut costs and improve patient care
  • Raising revenue for the NHS through successfully commercialising its products and services

For a copy of NHS: A prescription for the 21st Century, go here.

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