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From African crime to UK hospital wards: Work that is crossing international borders

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Published on 16 May 2018

How can we make our NHS services more efficient?
How can we make our NHS services more efficient?

A groundbreaking leadership development initiative which has proven a lifeline to two African towns blighted by violence is now being applied to help the over-stretched NHS.

 Dr Rob Worrall from the University of Sunderland introduced his innovative Place-Based Transformational Leadership Development (P-BLD) scheme in Nakuru and Naivasha in Kenya, before moving on to Mbale in Uganda and Cuilapa in Guatemala 

 Based on his doctoral research at Anglia Ruskin University, the programme aims to empower leaders in those Kenyan communities to tackle urban violence and bring political and social stability, as well as protect human rights.

 Now Dr Worrall has been working with Dr Darren Leech, Director at NHS Elect to adapt his work so that it applied to health and social care in the UK, in a bid to make sure NHS leadership at a local level is working as efficiently as possible.

 Dr Worrall, Programme Leader for the MBA Senior Leader Masters Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Sunderland, said: “This is the same framework we have used in Africa, but applied to health and social care here.

 “We will be helping leaders in these fields understand how they can become more effective, not just for their own organisation, but in collaborating with other organisations.”

 Place-based leadership requires a shift in thinking, says Dr Worrall, away from the traditional ‘one-size fits all’ approach.

 Instead, Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships in the NHS require much more locally-focused provision. In other words, the needs and demands on health and social care in Sunderland and Newcastle could be very different from those in Northumberland and County Durham.

 In the future, more attention will need to be paid to the health and social care needs of specific populations and the environment in which people live, work and spend their leisure time.

 Truly understanding and embracing differences between areas, rather than trying to impose a common process for identification of priorities, is what the NHS will need to progress forward, suggests Dr Worrall.

 He said: “The programme will help leaders ensure that money and resources are prioritised correctly, that areas with specific needs are having those needs addressed.”

 Drs Worrall and Dr Leech were last week invited to give a presentation of their joint work to hundreds of NHS leaders at the King’s Fund Annual Leadership and Management Summit in London.

P-BLD is not about telling people how to lead, but rather about developing a dialogue between leaders – whether it be political leaders in Africa or NHS leaders in the UK.

 Dr Worrall added: “It’s very much a collaborative approach, designing and developing the programme in ongoing collaboration with the participants themselves, as well as communities and other agencies.”

 Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England delivered the key-note speech at the Leadership and Management Summit, which is now in its eighth year. The event is the number one conference for leaders and managers working in UK health and care.

 Dr Worrall said: “The P-BLD framework is very much needed in the NHS, just as it was in Africa. It’s about applying the same solution to a different problem.

 “An effective place-based approach does not come about overnight – leadership development is key for both individuals and collective system leaders.

In some areas, this development has involved cross-sector groups of senior or emerging leaders embarking on a learning journey – sharing knowledge, developing relationships and building leadership capability across a clearly-defined territorial area.”

 In Africa, the P-BLD framework is now helping to create safer spaces for people to work, play and live by creating coalitions of leaders that work together from different sectors, including the police, health services, human rights and private business.

 Dr Worrall will also be presenting his Summit speech at the University of Sunderland on Tuesday, 22 May, at 1pm to 2.15pm. The workshop will be held at City Campus. If you are able to attend the workshop could you please email cape@sunderland.ac.uk to confirm your attendance.

 It is hoped the workshops and presentations given by Dr Worrall will provide an opportunity for senior leaders in health and social care to offer their input.