Intended for healthcare professionals


Strengthening leadership in the NHS

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 20 February 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1685
  1. Chris Ham, chief executive
  1. 1King’s Fund, London W1G 0AN, UK
  1. c.ham{at}

The Rose and Dalton reviews are welcome but there are no easy answers

The appointment of Stuart Rose, former boss of Marks and Spencer, to advise the government on leadership in the NHS is the latest in a long line of attempts to make use of private sector expertise in the NHS. Rose’s brief is to explore how the 14 NHS trusts placed in special measures can be helped to tackle concerns about their performance.1 Like Roy Griffiths, Adair Turner, and Gerry Robinson before him, Rose faces the challenge of using experience in a very different sector to enable NHS organisations to put in place the leadership that can provide improved care for patients.

Arguably, the NHS has most to learn from the private sector about how to treat patients as valued customers rather than as grateful recipients of care. Despite progress in improving patients’ access to care, much remains to be done to tackle relational aspects of care, including ensuring that patients are treated with dignity and respect and are able to communicate effectively with doctors and other staff. NHS organisations could also do more to …

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