Intended for healthcare professionals


Values and leadership

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 22 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:657

Leadership is failing to adhere to values in the NHS

  1. Pramod P Bapat, consultant anaesthetist (
  1. Arrowe Park Hospital, Upton, Wirral CH49 5PE
  2. Values Partnership, London NW3 2JY
  3. Aga Khan University, PO Box 3500, Stadium Road, Karachi 74800, Pakistan

    EDITOR—Pendleton and King are wrong to think that values from the commercial sector could be applicable to the healthcare sector.1 The basic difference between commercial sector and healthcare sector is that commercial companies value their staff on the basis that they will generate more cash, and reward them in the form of bonuses, higher salaries, or other perks.

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    The healthcare sector does nothing of the sort. It depends on the caring and conscientious workers to do their best for the patients and derive satisfaction from it. Instinctively, all humans like to be valued and recognised, and if workers are not valued then no amount of leadership would enthuse them into performing at their best. This recognition does not have to be only of a financial nature. In the past it came in the form of considerable autonomy and respect for people's hard work.

    Excessive politicisation and managerial control has taken away a lot of staff's professional freedom, and morale is at an all time low. Another problem with the NHS is that most of its leaders have …

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