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Leadership and transformational change in healthcare organisations: A qualitative analysis of the North East Transformation System

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Adrian SmallORCiD, Professor Christian Hicks, Professor Tom McGovern, Edward Lugsden, Professor Paula Whitty, Dr Nick Steen, Professor Martin Eccles


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The research project 'An Evaluation of Transformational Change in NHS North East' examines the progress and success of National Health Service (NHS) organisations in north east England in implementing and embedding the North East Transformation System (NETS), a region-wide programme to improve healthcare quality and safety, and to reduce waste, using a combination of Vision, Compact, and Lean-based Method. This paper concentrates on findings concerning the role of leadership in enabling tranformational change, based on semi-structured interviews with a mix of senior NHS managers and quality improvement staff in 14 study sites. Most interviewees felt that implementing the NETS requires committed, stable leadership, attention to team-building across disciplines and leadership development at many levels. We conclude that without senior leader commitment to continuous improvement over a long time scale and serious efforts to distribute leadership tasks to all levels, healthcare organisations are less likely to achieve positive changes in managerial-clinical relations, sustainable improvements to organisational culture and, ultimately, the region-wide step change in quality, safety and efficiency that the NETS was designed to deliver.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lugsden E; McGovern T; Hicks C; Steen N; Eccles MP; Small A; Whitty P; Erskine J; Hunter DJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Health Services Management Research

Year: 2013

Volume: 26

Issue: 1

Pages: 29-37

Print publication date: 01/01/2013

ISSN (print): 0951-4848

ISSN (electronic): 1758-1044

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0951484813481589


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