Fifteen months on from joining The King’s Fund, Marcus Powell, Director of Leadership and Organisational Development, reflects on the challenges facing leaders across health and care and looks forward to our Seventh annual leadership and management summit.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for leaders in health and social care today?
The challenges are immense. Leaders in the health system are facing enormous financial challenges alongside growing demand from an ageing population with increasingly complex needs, as well as regulatory and political pressures. Extraordinary leadership will be needed to see beyond these day-to-day challenges to focus on the transformational changes required to improve services for patients and put the NHS on a sustainable footing for the future.
The challenge of working across boundaries is going to be a key theme over the next few years, driven by the development of sustainability and transformation plans (STPs). The success of the STPs will depend on high levels of collaboration across and between organisations that historically have little experience of working together to deliver change at scale and pace. The leadership challenge facing those involved is huge. Organisations that are already at the limit of their capacity, and perhaps capability, will also have to participate in a massive cultural transformation. This is why we have chosen working across boundaries as the theme of this year’s annual leadership and management summit.
What do you see as The King’s Fund’s role in helping leaders to meet these challenges?
We understand the context – the broader picture – because of our work to understand and shape health policy. We can help leaders make sense of that bigger picture – the regulatory environment, the political environment, the financial context - and that perspective makes us unique. We have direct experience of supporting leaders to address the challenges of managing change across systems of care and of the relational and cultural aspects of leading change though our organisational development work.
Our events are one way we help leaders to meet these challenges by bringing people together to share learning and discuss good practice. This year’s annual leadership and management summit will provide a great opportunity for leaders and managers working in health and care to come together to discuss some of the most important issues facing the health and care system.
The leadership summit is now in its seventh year. What can attendees look forward to this year?
The feedback we’ve had in the past is that delegates value the mix of high-profile speakers and practical sessions focused on developing leadership skills. They also value the chance to take time out from their day-to-day roles to network with peers, spark fresh ideas, and develop new, productive relationships.
This year I’m looking forward to hearing from Simon Stevens, Chief Executive at NHS England, who'll share his thoughts and experience on building relationships and working collaboratively to drive improvements in health care. We’ll also be joined by my colleague Professor Michael West, who will talk about the need for collaborative and compassionate leadership and how having these qualities can help to deliver better patient care.
We’ve designed the breakout sessions to provide delegates with the space to explore questions, dilemmas and opportunities in greater detail, facilitated by my leadership team. This year, each session will share good practice and personal stories from leaders working in health, social care and the voluntary sector.
Delegates will leave the event with greater knowledge, skills and understanding of how to work collaboratively. They will also have a clearer understanding of the complex health and care landscape and how it affects them and their teams.