What is the key to strong leadership in primary care?

Leadership in practice management is absolutely key for the running of a successful primary care business, and Practice Managers all over England could be set to benefit from new investment.

The Interim People Plan, published on Monday 3 June, places a strong emphasis on how the future of the NHS depends on a viable talent pipeline and strong leadership development. So how do we work towards achieving these goals?

A £2million funding boost for leaders

NHS England has revealed that £2million will be invested into the development of current and future leaders across the country, following successes in five existing leadership schemes. This is the first step of the NHS Long Term Plan to invest in current leaders, helping to create a strong talent pipeline and future proof the organisation.

NHS England told FPM that all leaders, at all levels, in all parts of the system can benefit from the scheme. The 23 areas where you can apply for a share of the funding are:

Click here to download the full list of the 23 areas

Dom Hardy, NHS England Director of Primary Care and System Transformation stated “We want to nurture the next generation of NHS leaders by more systematically identifying, developing and supporting those with the capability and ambition to reach the most senior levels of the service”. You can get in touch with your local STP to find out more about the funding opportunities.

What does Leadership mean for you and your business?

Leadership might be considered a “fluffy” term by some, unimportant and ineffective - it can be difficult to define and even more difficult to measure.

There is significant evidence to suggest however, that leadership development can have a hugely positive impact on a business, with results from the above existing schemes including:

  • 7% reduction in GP referrals to outpatients due to the introduction of a GP Advice Line
  • Helped to avoid 3,600 nights in hospital for elderly patients thanks to a team seeing them earlier at home, helping to free up £4million to be reinvested

How does Leadership Development impact a team?

The results speak for themselves, the training and investment seems to work - but why is this? Here are just some of the reasons:

  1. Leadership is about understanding people emotionally. This is powerful, and allows for the leader to know their team well enough to motivate them to perform to the best of their capability.
  2. Team Retention - a great leader retains great people. It has long been discussed that 80% of employees don’t leave their job, they leave their manager. Equally, great people want to work for a great manager!
  3. Nurturing future leaders supports succession planning, and all employees like to think they are working towards a goal.
  4. A leader with a strong understanding of their own leadership style will be better equipped to utilise their strengths and build on their weaknesses.
  5. Employee engagement increases. With a great leader, comes happier employees.

What can you do in your practice, right now?

Here are some ideas that you can implement in your practice starting today:

  • Recruitment: When you recruit a new employee, do you recruit a CV or a person? What process do you use to see if the person is the right fit for your business?

Will they fit in to your culture? Just because somebody has the right skills does not mean they are the right person. Take the time to get to know the applicant and you will not be disappointed.

  • Learn to be the last to speak: When at a meeting or approaching an employee, learn to be the last to speak.

Let the employee say their piece first, you will often find that they mention topics you wanted to speak about anyway. This can help empower them to see the problem through to the end.

  • Empower and challenge your team to think independently: This has been known to break down barriers and could even increase communication between practices.

When people have to think for themselves, they become more invested in their work and innovation is increased. The people that know and live day-by-day problems are often the ones that know how to fix them!

  • Establish the connection between what your employee does and your practice’s values: If somebody believes they are ‘just’ a receptionist, they will be ‘just’ a receptionist. Compare this to if somebody who believes they are the smiling face that will brighten a patient’s day and ensure they see the right professional.

 If they live and breathe your practice values, you have a much stronger employee.

  • Show a high level of ethics and act accordingly: Demonstrate the level of respect you have for your employees. This is an important balance to strike, because if you slip into seeing your employee as dispensable, that’s how they will see you.

By showing a high level of ethics and role modelling respect and trust, you will set the tone for the rest of your employees and your workplace.

Are you inspired to develop your practice leadership role? What improvements do you think you could make in your workplace? Could you benefit from a professional Consultancy Service or ILM-accredited course delivered by award-winning primary care training providers Thornfields?


First Practice Management 12/06/2019

Hi Fiona, you can try contacting your local STP to find out more about the funding opportunities. We've amended the article to make this clearer. Thanks, FPM

fiona witt 12/06/2019

Hi - where or how do we access this funding (in Dorset)?

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Practice Manager - Bristol, BS40 6HF

Closing Date: 30 June 2020

Salary: £43,700

Practice Manager - London, Clerkenwell

Closing Date: 10 June 2020

Salary: According to experience

Practice Manager - Bristol, BS40 6HF

Closing Date: 30 June 2020

Salary: £43,700

Practice Manager - London, Clerkenwell

Closing Date: 10 June 2020

Salary: According to experience

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