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Developing People – Improving Care

A national framework for action on improvement and leadership development in NHS-funded services

What is this framework? It’s the first version of a national framework to guide local, regional and national action on developing NHS-funded staff. Its sponsors are the main national organisations with NHS responsibilities.  The framework applies to everyone in NHS-funded roles in all professions and skill areas, clinical and otherwise. Future updates are expected to cover people in social care as well.

What is the framework’s purpose? To equip and encourage people in NHS-funded roles to deliver continuous improvement in local health and
care systems and gain pride and joy from their work. To that end, the framework aims to guide team leaders at every level of the NHS to develop a critical set of improvement and leadership capabilities among their staff and themselves.

Who is this document for? This document is directed primarily at the senior management teams of all organisations and partnerships responsible
for NHS-funded activity. The idea is to release regular updates, improved by feedback from teams using the framework.

Why? Evidence and experience from high performing health and care systems shows that having these capabilities enables teams to continuously improve population health, patient care, and value for money. Developing these capabilities and giving people the time and support required to see them bear fruit is a reliable strategy for closing the three gaps identified in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

What are the critical capabilities to develop?

  • Systems leadership skills for leaders improving local health and care systems, whether through sustainability and transformation plans, vanguards, or other new care models. These skills help leaders to build trusting relationships, agree shared system goals and collaborate across organisational and professional boundaries.
  • Improvement skills for staff at all levels. Chief executives of the majority of provider trusts rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission credit established quality improvement (QI) methods2 for improvement in their operational performance, staff satisfaction and quality outcomes.
  • Compassionate, inclusive leadership skills for leaders at all levels. Compassionate leadership means paying close attention to all the people you lead, understanding the situations they face, responding empathetically and taking thoughtful and appropriate action to help.
  • Inclusive leadership means progressing equality, valuing diversity and challenging power imbalances. These leadership behaviours create just, learning cultures where improvement methods can engage colleagues, patients and carers, deliver cumulative performance improvements, and make health and care organisations great places to work.
  • Talent management to fill current senior vacancies and future leadership pipelines with the right numbers of diverse, appropriately developed people.