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NHS Senior Management Board Dinner
Insights from a NHS senior leader for aspirant directors
On Wednesday 21st September Odgers Interim hosted an event in Manchester to provide a platform for senior managers from the NHS across the Northern Region to meet and discuss the challenges facing aspirant directors and offer the opportunity to share valuable insights on how to overcome some of those challenges at a time when the need for outstanding leaders in the NHS is at its highest.
Guest speaker for the evening was Lisa Grant, Chief Nurse at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital Trust – who shared her experience of leadership in Merseyside’s biggest and busiest hospital.
Lisa’s insights from her personal career, from starting as a staff nurse at The Royal in 1998, completing a stream of qualifications culminating in an MBA and many years’ experience in other English hospital trusts – before returning to The Royal Liverpool in March 2016 as Chief Nurse.
In the context of these challenges facing the NHS across England , Lisa also discussed the issues facing those in senior leadership roles as well as stressing the immense satisfaction that comes with overcoming restrained resources to deliver an award winning service in a top-ranked hospital trust to deliver first class patient care.
The attendees from the group consisted of highly experienced senior managers, from whom it was apparent throughout the evening that there is a healthy appetite to explore director posts in spite of the current challenges faced by those in leadership posts in the NHS. Lisa Grant encouraged aspirant directors not to be put off by any perceived fears, in light of her own experiences taking on each new step in her career.
Emma Whittle, Healthcare Consultant at Odgers Interim asked about the broadening of portfolios for NHS directors, noting how this is leading “to greater responsibilities, often with less direct knowledge of the areas controlled”. Emma asked how, given that greater responsibility, “aspiring future leaders” could make an effective transition into a board level role with the required leadership skills and behaviours.
In response, Lisa stressed that in spite of the current financial restraints on the NHS, there are opportunities too, and a need for top people with the right skills to institute change. She emphasised how better leadership development leads to better patient care, and that the “culture and values” of an organisation are incredibly important factors when deciding on future opportunities.
Lisa added that she believes that those working in the NHS remain committed to patient safety and for her she is personally driven by nursing excellence.
Sarah Lovell, Healthcare Partner at Odgers Interim, recognised that Odgers had a key part to play in supporting aspirant Directors, connecting them with peers outside of their geography for example so that informal mentoring could take place particularly to become better equipped in relation to “Trust Board Dynamics”.
Within Odgers Interim, Sarah Lovell heads a team of two based in Manchester and Birmingham who specialise in the placement of senior interim healthcare executives.
Sarah adds, “For the NHS, at a time of signficant transformation and change, interims do bring expertise and a fresh perspective to a particular set of issues and challenges – as well as supporting organisations in filling critical gaps at both Board and sub-board level.”