• The health and social care secretary wants to “take mid-career business leaders” and turn them into “NHS trailblazers”.
  • Mr Hancock aims to draw on the expertise of external sectors, such as the military. 
  • He will emphasise the importance of leadership pathways for BAME staff.

Matt Hancock wants to take “mid career business leaders and turn them into top tier NHS trailblazers”, under plans for health service leadership he is due to announce today.

The health and social care secretary will say the NHS should learn how to develop leaders from the military, education and business sectors.

He is expected to respond to the serious findings of a review into NHS leadership published by the Department of Health and Social Care today, by Sir Ron Kerr, one of its non-executive directors and the former chief executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust. Sir Ron describes a ”negative working culture in which both bullying and discrimination are prevalent and accepted” and calls for better support for NHS leaders, particularly at struggling organisations.

Mr Hancock will call for the NHS to draw on more external expertise and empower more clinical staff to reach the “highest levels of the NHS”, in proposals familiar from previous NHS leadership plans.

“We need the best leaders in the NHS, whether they are from inside the system or outside,” Mr Hancock is expected to say in a speech to the King’s Fund conference. “What matters is we create the right leadership culture.”

Mr Hancock will say the way to do this is to make sure clinicians get “the right, tailored training” so they can learn how to lead, and external leaders learn how the NHS works.

The health and social care secretary will call on the NHS, in addition to looking outside, to improve the way it nurtures talent from within and will set out work being done with NHS Improvement to do this, according to a statement.

This will include a clear pipeline to support clinical leaders of the future, modules on leadership for new clinicians and guidance for all healthcare professionals to engage in leadership.

Mr Hancock will also welcome the expansion of the NHS graduate management trainee scheme, the new clinical executive fast track scheme and the Leadership Academy moving to NHS Improvement.

Mr Hancock will emphasise that “penetration into key leadership roles is not just important for clinical staff, but more specifically staff from BAME backgrounds”.

The government recently set a 10-year target to boost the diversity of its senior leadership as only 6.4 per cent of very senior managers are from a black and minority ethnic background.

Ex-NHS chief finds 'bullying and discrimination prevalent' in official review