Health Secretary suggests NHS need to open up leader search

HR Advisors

Speaking at King’s Fund annual conference, the Health Secretary suggested that the NHS needed to overhaul its procedure of appointing leaders for its top-management positions. His statements come at a time when NHS top-management is plagued with high attrition rates.

It is worth mentioning that the body has been accused of several corrupt and unethical practices, about which the top-management has spoken, on conditions of anonymity. Due to this, senior positions in the organizations have often attracted wrath and criticism from people on an individual capacity.

NHS is facing policy paralysis within the organization and outside it. This has led to a loss of face for the current leaders and thus, many promising employees within the organization shy away from accepting coveted positions. As of July 2018, about 8% of executive director positions remained vacant or were filled in by interim directors. These vacancies have led to a steep decline in the morale of its current employees, prompting the possible use of executive search consultants.

A whopping 54% of leaders were appointed in the past three years itself. A deeper analysis of these figures’ sheds light on a lesser-discussed aspect of the problem. Shorter tenures of executives have inhibited them from developing a better understanding of the organization, its policies, and drafting solutions to existing problems. This, in turn, has led to the incoming leaders and top-level; managers experience a rather rocky transition. The rift in the experience level of the two managers has been ever-widening since the past decade. The sum of the above factors has snowballed and is causing myriad problems for the national organization.

Stressing on the current, Matt Hancock commented that NHS not only needed better training programs for employees but also incorporate aspects that focussed on aspects of management right from the grassroots levels. He said that it this approach would enable NHS to retain its talent pool, thereby curbing attrition rates in top-roles. The health secretary is currently considering plans to train NHS managers alongside successful executives from other sectors. He mentioned that it would enable NHS to adapt to new-age practices and methodologies.

Hancock’s suggestions were not only limited to revamping of practices within the world’s largest healthcare services provider, but he also suggested that NHS look beyond the organization and consider employing people outside itself. He urged that NHS adopt policies which made joining the NHS a lucrative option.

Easier said than done, the mammoth size of NHS prevents itself from undergoing a quick transformation which would be sustainable. It is often a tightrope walk for the executives to follow up with routine jobs while framing policies. This calls for a series of steps to develop leaders who could implement sustainable policies in the first place. Hence, many experts have suggested that pruning NHS’s size could make it easier to manage. A concerted effort from all its constituents (of 800+ bodies) is required to reassign responsibilities.

Though challenging, but it is expected that the organization shall very soon undergo the impending transformation and for the greater good of everyone.