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NHS is ‘drowning in bureaucracy’, report into NHS management says

Long-awaited report also says the NHS has ‘chronic shortage of good leaders’

Ingrid Torjesen

Friday, 17 July 2015

The NHS is “drowning in bureaucracy” and has a “chronic shortage of good leaders”, says a damning report by former M&S boss Lord Rose into leadership in the NHS, commissioned by the Department of Health in early 2014.

The pace of change in the NHS is “unsustainably high” and the “administrative, bureaucratic and regulatory burden is fast becoming insupportable,” the report ‘Better Leadership for Tomorrow - NHS Leadership Review’ says. Many of the problems identified “are chronic and have been unaddressed over an extended period and by different Governments.”

It says: “The whole organisation could and should be made more effective by the application of some common-sense tactical and strategic thinking.”

The report makes 19 recommendations – all of which have been accepted by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt “in principle.”

Three of the recommendations - that Monitor and the Trust Development Authority should merge, that NHS Leadership Academy is transferred from NHS England to Health Education England (HEE), and that more needs to be done to manage talent in the NHS – have already been accepted fully or already implemented.

The Department of Health will develop plans to implement each of the other recommendations “subject to an assessment of proportionality, cost-effectiveness and affordability,” Hunt said.

These include establishing a single service-wide communication strategy within the NHS and developing and communicating a summary of the NHS’s central core values, which Rose highlighted as essential for implementing his other recommendations.

These also include that data demands of all regulators and oversight bodies be reviewed so they are rationalised and harmonised. Health Education England should be responsible for all NHS training, including for managers, and establish a simple, balanced appraisal scorecard for individuals.

The graduate training scheme for managers should be expanded tenfold and all senior managers should have to attend accredited courses and attain a qualification to ensure consistent levels of experience and training.

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