12th March 2015

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Health Chat - Important; due to a technical glitch some of you may have been told the event is closed to booking.  It is not.  Grab a ticket and I'll see you there!

Dame Julie Mellor, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in conversation with Roy Lilley

King's Fund 15th April Details here

Do it for each other
News and Comment from Roy Lilley

Who should be a leader? Daft question? Is it like asking who should sing tenor in the choir. The answer is obvious; the person who has the tenor voice.


A lot of NHS time and resource has been invested, spent, frittered away on the conundrum of leadership. We have leadership courses, conferences and studies. By all accounts; it's a lot of dosh down the khazi.


However, there is something about a leader. People follow people who they have confidence in. People listen to people who listen back; give them the reassurance and the confidence that 'things might be tricky but it will be OK'.


Leaders have a knack; they are always POSITIVE.


By positive I mean; they Plan, Organise, Stretch colleagues to do more than they thought possible. They thrive on Information and want to know what's going on. They manage their Time and always seem to have plenty of it; time for people, detail and the patience to listen. They are Innovative and creative. Every leader I have ever met has had a Vision and almost always, they are Efficient; work smarter not harder and find ways of cutting out the waste from their day, their meetings and their conversations.


Does that sound like you? Many of us are thrown into positions of being in charge, or become the boss and that require the talents of leadership we may not have.


You have to ask yourself some tough questions.

  • Do I have the discipline and dedication to keep going and avoid being side-tracked? The focus required means something else might have to go. What's important in your life?
  • Do I have the energy to go into extra time? Leadership is not a part time job.
  • Am I resourceful and flexible? It's OK not to be. You might be good at process and details.
  • Can I find enjoyment in what I am doing? Leadership can be a lonely place.
  • Do I have the competence or can I learn fast? If you have to learn on the job, do you know where to go, to learn?

I don't think there is anything wrong, in a quiet personal moment, to ask yourself; is this really for me?


Leaders share what's in their mind's eye. They are also visible; they can't be anonymous or missing. Leaders are visible, have a vision and share it often.


When we speak of leaders we often do so in terms of the great leaders of war, or peace, sports or heroic achievement. Whilst there is still room for that, complex organisations seldom benefit from it. Leadership is changing. Leadership isn't 'out-front' in quite the way it was.


Healthcare is increasingly complex and the intimate nature of the services we offer means that leadership is seldom 'top down'.  Most of what is important is delivered by small teams; trusting each other and working together.


The more I travel the corridors of healthcare the more I see leadership, real leadership, at the patient-facing, frontline of care. It is the place to go to, to talk about safe staffing, new ideas, what needs to be done differently, innovation and making things happen.


Trust Boards, waterboarded by regulation, directives and compliance seem to have little time or option but to concentrate on the stewardship of their organisations.  Leadership, the real energy and direction has moved out of the boardroom and into the front-line of care.


Leadership is now more subtle; it is about creating the time and space for good people to do great things and that is something, wherever we work,  we can do for each other. 


What exactly does the Health Ombudsman do?

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Health Ombudsman Dame Julie Mellor - details here 

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The bookings page may have given the mpression the event was closed to booking - it is not!
Dame Julie Mellor
Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman
In conversation with
Roy Lilley
15th April 2015
King's Fund
See you there!
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