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Government Launches Landmark Review Of Health And Social Care Leadership

The government has launched a review of leadership in health and social care. The review will be led by former Vice Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Gordon Messenger, and will report back to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid, in early 2022.

The Health and Social Care Leadership Review will look to improve processes and strengthen the leadership of health and social care in England. Working with the health and care systems, retired General Sir Gordon Messenger will have a team from DHSC and the NHS to support him led by Dame Linda Pollard, chair of Leeds Teaching Hospital.

The government is determined that every pound of investment is well spent so that everyone gets the care that they deserve. Strengthening leadership, including clinical leadership, and spreading the best examples of outstanding management is vital in ensuring that every pound of investment is spent well, by driving up innovation and more efficient ways of working. The review will help to reduce regional disparities in efficiency and health outcomes.

The review comes as the government invests a record £36 billion to put health and social care on a sustainable financial footing and deliver the biggest catch-up programme in NHS history. Any recommendations made as the review progresses will be considered carefully and could be rapidly implemented to make every penny of taxpayer’s money count.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, said:

I am determined to make sure the NHS and social care delivers for the people of this country for years to come and leadership is so important to that mission.

We are committed to providing the resources health and social care needs but that must come with change for the better.

This review will shine a light on the outstanding leaders in health and social care to drive efficiency and innovation. It will help make sure individuals and families get the care and treatment they need, wherever they are in the country, as we build back better.

The review will also look at how to deliver the findings of proposals and commitments made in previous reports on leadership.

The work of the review only applies to England, though other nations will be free to consider its findings, and it will be funded from within existing DHSC budgets. Publication of the review will be followed by a plan committing to implementing any agreed recommendations along with clear timelines.

Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Social care is a complex arena spanning multiple partners across the public, private and voluntary sectors. For a long time, there have been significant challenges, including financial and workforce pressures and the COVID-19 Pandemic has only exacerbated these issues. As rewarding as they can be, leadership positions in social care are therefore demanding, challenging, and can be draining, and we are asking more of leaders at a time of significant challenge.

“There are excellent leaders throughout social care demonstrating the right culture of compassionate, inclusive and collaborative leadership that is needed for today’s challenges. The right culture is vital to good quality care and must not be sidelined by a sole focus on efficiency. Learning from the best to help drive further improvement across the board is central to local government’s sector-led improvement mission. The Review team must work closely with local government to utilise councils’ expertise and help inform their recommendations.

“There is no additional funding for frontline social care from the estimated £36 billion to be raised by the new UK-wide Health and Social Care levy over the next three years. Addressing the NHS backlog and freeing up hospital beds cannot be done without also fixing social care and we are calling on the Government to commit to a greater share of the Levy to go to frontline social care from the outset.

“The upcoming Spending Review must also provide new investment to stabilise social care and allow local leaders to deliver on the Government’s aims of driving efficiency and innovation.”