Leadership is seen to be central to improving the quality of healthcare and existing research suggests that absence of leadership is related to poor quality and safety performance. Leadership training might therefore provide an important means through which to promote quality improvement and, more widely, performance within the healthcare environment. This report presents an evaluation of the Fellowships in Clinical Leadership Programme, which combines leadership training and quality improvement initiatives with the placement of temporary external clinical champions in Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. We assessed impacts of the Programme on individual and organisational change, alongside core enablers and barriers for Programme success. Analyses drew on the principles of a theory-of-change-led realist evaluation, using logic modelling to specify the underlying causal mechanisms of the Programme. Data collection involved a stakeholder workshop, online questionnaires of programme participants, senior managers and support staff (n=114), and follow-up in-depth semi-structured interviews with a subsample of survey participants (n=15).
We observed that the Programme had notable impacts at individual and organisational levels. Examples of individual impact included enhanced communication and negotiation skills or increased confidence as a result of multi-modal leadership training. At the organisational level, participants reported indications of behaviour change among staff, with evidence of spill-over effects to non-participants towards a greater focus on patient-centred care.
Our findings suggest that there is potential for combined leadership training and quality improvement programmes to contribute to strengthening a culture of care quality in healthcare organisations. Our study provides useful insights into strategies seeking to achieve sustainable improvement in NHS organisations.
Table of Contents
Background and context
Workshop agenda and attendance list