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Twenty-three NHS clinicians have completed a unique programme to prepare them for hospital board roles.

The Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) Leadership and Development programme, which launched in 2017, is a first-of-its-kind course in the UK. It equips senior clinicians and NHS managers with the leadership skills they need to operate effectively at board level, and to address key management challenges facing the healthcare system over the next five to ten years.

Professor Jonathan Weber, Director of Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre

Professor Jonathan Weber, Director of Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, said:

“I would like to congratulate this year’s cohort for graduating from our leadership programme.  We have developed this programme in collaboration with Imperial College Business School to address the need for more clinicians on hospital boards so they can share their insights and influence how our hospitals operate.  This year’s cohort has shown great promise and I look forward to seeing how they develop following the programme.”

Professor Francisco Veloso, Dean of Imperial College Business School

Professor Francisco Veloso, Dean of Imperial College Business School, added:

“The Business School’s executive education programme provides an environment to foster innovative thinking, leading to ground-breaking ideas that change the ways businesses operate.  The AHSC Leadership and Development programme is an excellent example of how we put this in practice.?

The programme has gone from strength to strength and we look forward to developing it and expanding this unique opportunity to other NHS trusts.”

Meet some of this year’s graduates

Sue Alexander, Principal Biomedical Scientist and Pathology Services Manager at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Sue Alexander, Principal Biomedical Scientist and Pathology Services Manager at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“One of the highlights of the programme was working on a strategic project that could benefit our Trust.  We looked at ways of running outpatient clinics better for the benefit of patients and other NHS Trusts.

“I contacted the Marsden’s patient engagement team and found that there has been a request for ‘remote’ clinics by Skype or some other system. We reviewed the IT options for this, the barriers and logistical issues involved, and the types of patient groups where it could be feasible.

“Our aims were to reduce waiting times in clinics, avoid patients having to travel for check-ups and save face to face appointments for when there would complex or sensitive discussions. We considered carefully the costing and commissioning of these clinics and looked at several pilots from around the country with the aim of producing a template or toolkit that could be rolled out ready to use.

“Another highlight for me was hearing from some extraordinary high achieving people from very different backgrounds, very inspirational and at the same time engaging and entertaining.”

Karen Powell, Divisional Director of Nursing and Midwifery for Women’s, Children’s and Clinical Support at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Karen Powell, Divisional Director of Nursing and Midwifery for Women’s, Children’s and Clinical Support at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said:

“The main reasons for participating in the AHSC Leadership and Development programme were to further develop in my career and use additional skills to improve my leadership in my current role and for the future.

I was also keen to utilise the networking opportunities with other Trusts and gain any shared learning that could benefit my current role and organisation as part of the programme.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the coaching element of the programme and found this very beneficial and pertinent to my every day work. The simulation exercise was also another highlight for me, having to collaborate and communicate within a team that I didn’t know to achieve an end goal in a safe environment was also a lot of fun.

“Now that I have completed the programme, it is time to practice and embed the skills learned to improve patient care. I hope to be able to utilise these skills both personally within my own career progression and also to develop my teams to enhance the leaders of the future.”

Professor Michael Loebinger, Respiratory Consultant and Clinical Director of Laboratory Medicine at Royal Brompton Hospital

Professor Michael Loebinger, Respiratory Consultant and Clinical Director of Laboratory Medicine at Royal Brompton Hospital, said:

“I joined the programme as I was keen to get some formal training around finance and management in my role. I had a great experience on the programme and really enjoyed learning about business theory and strategy and how to apply this into NHS practice.

“It was also great to collaborate with others from across the AHSC in our group work project and to forge new relationships.

“Over the programme, there was time given for personal development and I really enjoyed the coaching aspect which made me think about my personal purpose.

“I will use the different strategies I learnt from the programme both in leading my team and helping to influence those above me.”