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Thursday 02 November 2017

Managers' revolving door damaging NHS, admits minister

By Matt Ross

Failing NHS organisations are often characterised by excessive turnover among managers, health minister Philip Dunne told Summit delegates at the evening Parliamentary reception – and he promised to spend his time in office strengthening leadership development.

Dunne, minister of state at the Department of Health since July 2016, said that every trust in special measures has had a "problem with leadership – and the leadership problem often comes from a revolving door" in senior posts.

When executives aren't in post "for long enough to be respected by the clinicians and the management structures underneath them, things that they try to change don't get implemented," he warned.

Management "vitally important"

His goal is to "instil a greater sense of leadership development and talent spotting and talent management across the NHS," Dunne said, particularly by encouraging more clinicians and people from ethnic minorities into leadership jobs. "The role of management is less talked about than most of the other roles within the NHS, but it's vitally important," he added.

Dunne was introduced by Labour MP and MiP member Karin Smyth, a former NHS manager in Bristol. She told delegates she joined the NHS to help make it "more responsive to local people and more democratically accountable." But she eventually grew frustrated with the constant reorganisations, and left to continue her mission in Parliament.

"You do an incredibly difficult job," she said. "I'm very proud to have had a career in NHS management."

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