NHS Women in Leadership report

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04 / 12 / 2015 4pm

Women leaders gathered at Prince Philip House to celebrate the launch of a new report by Dr Penny Newman, NHS women in leadership: Plan for action, which calls for gender imbalance in the NHS to be addressed.

The under-representation of women

Written in collaboration with UN Women and produced by NHS Employers, the report explores the under-representation of women in the NHS and the benefits that gender equality could bring, including increased productivity, improved performance and meeting patients’ needs.

Including interviews with 12 senior NHS leaders, the report’s central theme is the learning that can be gained from other systems. It presents the United Nations System Wide Action Plan (UN-SWAP) as a framework that could help redress the gender imbalance.

Recommended actions for the NHS include:

  • the creation of a guiding coalition
  • identifying a national champion
  • accurately measuring board membership by gender
  • setting aspirational targets
  • creating a framework for action including leadership development.

HSJ Women Leaders Network

The event was fittingly hosted by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Women Leaders Network, a community of existing and emerging women leaders in health and social care.

Chaired by HSJ’s executive editor, Adele Waters, the event featured a range of speakers including Aparna Mehrotra, senior adviser on coordination and focal point for women in the UN System, UN Women, Dr Debbie Frost, Chair of NHS Barnet CCG, and Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons.  

System-wide support

NHS Improvement chair, Ed Smith, also attended to discuss his role of senior champion. Ed called for gender parity to apply throughout the NHS and for targets to be set for equal representation.

Chair of NHS England, Simon Stephens, said in support of the report: ‘The vast majority of NHS professionals and other staff, are women, and we're far more likely to succeed by being able to make full use of their talent, dedication and experience - at every level throughout the health service.'

Penny Newman's report has also helped to inform another publication about female leadership for the sector, also launched in December. Women in clinical commissioning leadership: A case for change from NHS Clinical Commissioners identifies the actions that need to be taken to increase female leadership in the clinical commissioning arena.

Read Dr Newman’s report NHS women in leadership: Plan for action.

Read more about NHS Clinical Commissioners' Women in clinical commissioning leadership: A case for change.

Find out more about the HSJ Women Leaders Network and see more about the event on Twitter using #HSJWomenLeaders.

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