Government commits to support and improvement measures for NHS leaders

The government is in the process of planning how it can improve and support the roles of NHS leaders, following a review’s recommendations

The government has published a new report – based on an independent review – outlining how it intends to better support NHS leaders and ensure they are fit for their posts.

The Kark review of the fit and proper persons test was led by Tom Kark, QC. It includes seven recommendations for how the government can better support NHS senior leaders to deliver high-quality and safe care in the NHS.

Of these recommendations, the government has accepted in principle to:

  • Set up a central database of information about the qualifications, previous employment and performance of directors

  • Make new competency standards to help people know what to expect of senior managers

The remaining recommendations will be considered as part of the workforce implementation plan later this year, which will be led by Baroness Harding, chair of NHS Improvement.

These include:

  • Setting up a new organisation that can suspend directors who are found to have committed serious misconduct, such as bullying and harassment of staff

  • Requiring old employers to provide references to potential new employers

The Department of Health and Social Care commissioned Tom Kark QC, previously counsel to the Mid Staffordshire public inquiry, to lead a review into the effectiveness of the NHS fit and proper persons test last year.

The test is overseen by the Care Quality Commission as part of their regular inspections of NHS trusts and aims to ensure executive-level managers are fit to carry out their roles to the highest standard.

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