Latest paper from the Kings Fund

As the NHS seeks to move away from competition towards integration and to develop new models of care, individuals and organisations across the health and care system need to learn to work together to make the best use of collective skills and knowledge.

This paper offers those who are leading new systems of care some guidance on how to address the challenges they face. It draws on the Fund’s work on the development of new care models, sustainability and transformation plans, and accountable care organisations. It is also informed by the experience of people who have occupied system leadership roles and draws on case studies from our research and organisational development work.

The key messages:

The paper details five factors that facilitate system leadership:

  • develop a shared vision and purpose: this requires a shift from a reactive problem-solving mindset to creating a positive vision of the future built around the needs of local populations
  • have frequent personal contact: face-to-face meetings enable leaders to build rapport and understanding and to appreciate and acknowledge each other’s problems and challenges
  • surface and resolve conflicts: this depends on leaders’ ability to recognise conflicts, work them through and create the conditions in which it is safe to challenge
  • behave altruistically towards each other: to work together in a collaborative way, leaders need to move away from a traditionally competitive style and to focus on the bigger picture
  • commit to working together for the longer term: leaders need to invest time and energy in forming effective long-term relationships and to resist the pressure to focus on the immediate, transactional issues.

Download the full paper