Retail guru to advise NHS

The NHS is to be advised by the former chief executive of retail chain Marks & Spencer on how to attract and retain the best leaders.

Sir Stuart Rose is credited with reviving the fortunes of M&S, a high street institution in the UK, and has now been drafted in to advise on how new leaders could transform the culture of under-performing hospitals,

Rose’s project will run alongside a separate review into how the NHS can make better use of its best existing leaders, so-called “superheads”, who could spread the highest standards for patients across the system by taking on struggling organisations, or establishing networks of NHS hospitals and services.

Rose will also advise on how NHS trusts can improve organisational culture through leaders being more visible and in touch with frontline patients, services and staff.

In a separate review, the chief executive of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Sir David Dalton, will look at how to end the isolation of failing hospitals from the best NHS management and practice – a key finding in the wake of the Mid-Staffs inquiry.

Sir David will investigate how to enable the best NHS organisations and most successful chief executives to establish national groups of hospitals or services as beacons of excellence. This could include non-geographical networks of hospitals under one leadership team where one NHS trust has hospitals around the country.

Sir Stuart will particularly look at the problems faced by the 14 trusts currently in “special measures”, the programme to turn-around failing hospitals introduced last year, where strong leadership was identified as key to improvement.

A report published today by NHS regulators Monitor and the Trust Development Authority shows that the 11 hospital trusts placed into special measures in July, and a further three since October, have each made progress towards improving patient care, but Department of Health says more still needs to be done. Progress has been made at all 14 of these Trusts, including:

• 650 extra nurses or nursing assistants

• 130 extra doctors

• 49 leadership changes

Alongside this, the 11 initial special measures trusts have already delivered 38% of the urgent and oversight actions in the Keogh Mortality Review, and a further 58% of these actions are on track to be delivered on time.

Sir Stuart Rose said: “Clearly the NHS is a very different institution from M&S, but leadership, motivating staff and creating a culture where people are empowered to do things differently are crucial to the success of any organisation, and I’m looking forward to helping in any way I can.”

Sir Stuart’s review excludes ownership structures, out-sourcing or the use of the private sector in providing NHS care.

The 14 Trusts in special measures are:

1. North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

2. United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

3. East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

4. George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust

5. Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

6. Tameside Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

7. Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

8. Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

9. Medway NHS Foundation Trust

10. Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

11. Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

12. Colchester NHS Foundation Trust

13. King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust

14. Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust


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