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AHCS to consider implications of system leadership report for healthcare science

The Academy for Healthcare Science Professional Scientific Leadership Committee is to consider the implications of a new report into the practise of system leadership for the Healthcare Science profession.


The Kings Fund report The Practice of System Leadership – being comfortable with chaos draws on the experience of senior NHS figures on how to go about achieving system change and the barriers that need to be overcome.

An analysis of the approach and techniques used by the individuals in the study found a number of common themes about how to achieve successful change and the challenges to be overcome. Their recommendations included:

  • Start with a coalition of the willing, build an evidence base, and build outwards; it is vital to engage clinicians in understanding the need for change and to lead efforts to achieve that change
  • Involve patients, service users and carers because they have an invaluable role to play in helping to identify which services need to be redesigned.
  • Strike the right balance between constancy of purpose and flexibility by facilitating conversations about what needs to change and how; being flexible about how that might be achieved; and ensuring the momentum is there to deliver change despite the inevitable opposition
  • Pursue stability of leadership, something that has proved difficult in a context of frequent reorganisation of the provider and commissioning landscape

The study found a consensus among those interviewed that much more needs to be done to develop system leaders. This could include ‘buddying’ younger, less experienced managers and clinical leaders with more experienced counterparts, and doing more to protect whistle-blowers.

The AHCS Professional Scientific Leadership Committee will look at the evidence base and conclusion of the report over the coming months to identify what steps can be taken within Healthcare Science to promote leadership development and to improve the delivery of change.

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