Why diverse leadership matters

Leader dictionary definition

Diversity in leadership is important for the future of the NHS.  

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is about having best practice in the governance of organisations and better engagement with the staff. For the NHS, this will lead to significant improvements in the standards of care delivered within its institutions.

However, EDI is an area that the NHS needs to make significant progress in to reflect the spirit of the equality and diversity legislation and the NHS’ stated ambition to create a more diverse leadership.

A critical part of the solution is ensuring the chairs and non-executives on the boards of NHS organisations reflect the workforce they govern and are inclusive of the communities they serve. That's why we have set up an independent taskforce to increase the diversity of non-executive directors in the NHS

Organisational development

Appointing the right chair and non-executives is a critical task for all NHS organisations.

According to the NHS Leadership Academy, the board selection process provides a defining moment in the development of an organisation. It is the opportunity to ensure that the right people with the right competencies are at the helm, providing leadership and governance that will secure the future of the organisation, fulfil the objectives of the business, and deliver sustainable benefits. 

Diverse leadership will also be more able to handle the collaborative governance arrangements that are being taken forward in sustainability transformation partnerships and integrated care systems.

A diverse and inclusive leadership among those appointed to the board roles of NHS organisations will provide the tone of governance needed to:

  • address the issue of staff feeling bullied and harassed
  • develop the culture recommended by Sir Robert Francis and Professor Don Berwick 
  • motivate NHS staff to be caring and productive, and to provide more efficient and sensitive patient care.

Balanced boards with leaders drawn from diverse backgrounds with diverse skills are more likely to champion patient and staff engagement, and transform the culture of the health service for the benefit of patients.

Find out more about our independent taskforce and the senior leaders involved in the working group.

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