Leadership in the NHS - Health Service HR chief Clare Chapman describes the importance of leadership and how it can benefit patients.

Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review established a shared vision of an NHS that has quality of care at its heart - quality that spans safety, effectiveness and the patient experience. NHS HR chief Clare Chapman interprets the review ... "This has given us a common language focused on improvement for the benefit of patients and service users.

Providing high quality care motivates all NHS staff, clinical and non-clinical alike. It requires professionals to be empowered to make the daily decisions that improve quality, combined with a stronger accountability to patients.

However making change actually happen takes leadership and that is why fostering and developing leadership today that recognises the importance of high quality care is central to our expectations for the future NHS".

Routes into leadership

"Darzi's report recognised that there are many routes to excellent leadership. It identified core elements essential for those leading change to improve quality.

Good leaders already exist in many parts of the NHS, but making this the standard will require a significant shift in both our thinking and our actions. We must systematically identify the talent we need to improve the overall quality and quantity of our leaders.

The NHS will only be able to achieve this by first creating the right conditions for it to happen. We must match our new expectations by making more career development and support available to help leaders advance their skills, experience and careers.

We also recognise that it is essential that our leadership profile is broadened to reflect the diversity of both the wider workforce and the communities we serve".

DevelopChange are working with a number of Primary Care Trusts across the UK to support leadership development.

Last week the Department of Health announced its talent and leadership framework which states that leadership development must start with every individual in healthcare. We all have a personal responsibility to continuously learn, seek development, spot talent and support the development of others.

Structured development

Organisations play a crucial role at a local level in developing the leaders that we need to commission high quality services. Strategic Health Authorities play a key role at regional level they foster investment and collaboration to support leadership development.

Finally, our role at national level is to set the right incentives and standards, and advocate improvement with a strong national voice for change.

Clare Chapman is director-general of workforce at the Department of Health