Clinical leadership will be critical as the service faces this challenge. The King's Fund has a wealth of experience in developing the skills of leaders in the NHS, and is constantly adjusting its approach to meet the needs of those leaders. With this in mind, we conducted a survey of clinical and medical directors to find out what skills they believed they need to face these challenging times.
Leadership needs of medical directors and clinical directors includes the following findings.
- Both medical and clinical directors embrace the quality agenda articulated by Lord Darzi in High Quality Care for All (Darzi 2008), and are committed to preserving it.
- Both medical and clinical directors are eager to work with their managerial colleagues as equal partners to maintain clinical quality, ensure patient safety and improve patients' experience in the face of reduced resources. They see an urgent need for clinicians and managers to share a single mindset on maintaining quality efficiently.
- Clinical directors believe that they are largely cut off from the decision-making and planning processes, and view this as a critical challenge that must be overcome.
- Clinical directors and medical directors have high levels of confidence in their influencing, negotiation and communication leadership skills, and in their ability to use resources to maintain the quality of care.