About Us

Here at NHS South West Leadership Academy we operate a small but dynamic team who are responsible for the design, creation and delivery of our interventions. We work to empower people in the South West to secure better health, care and wellbeing outcomes through leadership. Wherever opportunity lies – within the system and across diverse communities — we work to develop compassionate leaders and the conditions for inclusive, future-focused leadership.

The NHS South West Leadership Academy’s philosophy is simple – great leadership development improves leadership behaviours and skills. Better leadership leads to better patient care, experience and outcomes.

Our purpose is to work with our partners to deliver excellent leadership across the NHS to have a direct impact on patient care. We offer a range of tools, models, programmes and expertise to support individuals, organisations and local partners to develop leaders, celebrating and sharing where outstanding leadership makes a real difference.

Our Vision

To develop outstanding leadership at every level of the NHS, creating cultures of compassion and inclusion that improves lives in local communities.

Our Mission

To be a regional centre of excellence for leadership development, delivering a national approach locally, and responding to the leadership needs of future and existing leaders across the South West NHS healthcare system to improve the quality of public health and patient outcomes.

To develop outstanding leadership in health, in order to improve people’s health and their experiences of the NHS. As a network of Leadership Academies we’ll aim to do this by:

  • Broadening, and where necessary changing, the range of leadership behaviours people in the health system use
  • Professionalising leadership: raising the profile, performance and impact of health system leaders, requiring and supporting them to demonstrate their fit and proper readiness to carry out their leadership role and defining what we expect from them
  • Working in partnership to make leadership in the health system more inclusive and representative of the communities it serves
  • Developing leaders who are more innovative and can create a climate where innovation can flourish

Why does leadership in the NHS need to change?

Quite simply, because there’s so much evidence connecting better leadership to better patient care.

FrancisBerwickKeogh point to it and so does leading academic, Michael West. They all make the link between good leadership and making a positive difference to patient care, care outcomes and the experience of care.

And there is far too much evidence linking failure in leadership to failures in patient care too.

In fact, getting leadership right makes a very positive difference.

And it doesn’t happen by accident.

Recent research from the internationally respected Development Dimensions International (DDI) on global leadership showed a real problem with the perceived quality of leaders globally – it said there was no evidence that the high quality leaders we need in the NHS can be recruited from elsewhere.

The fact is, we are much more likely to be successful by deploying tactics to ensure we ‘grow our own’ more effectively and that the routine development of talented individuals, linked to career progression, becomes a core part of our business.

What’s our approach?

Although ambitious and innovative, the philosophy behind the leadership development principles of the NHS Leadership Academy are simple and well proven:

  • For leaders to be at their most effective they need confidence in their role.
  • To secure confidence they need competence, skills, expertise, experience and support.  This comes from expert development and training as well as on the job learning.
  • Leaders need to have a breadth of behaviours to draw on to exercise their role in a multi-agency, complex system such as health care.  Lack of development tends to result in leaders having a very narrow range of styles to draw on.
  • Leaders need the right behaviours to build alliances with a wide range of professionals and across organisational boundaries to serve the needs of diverse communities with enduringly complex needs.  The success of the NHS over the next decade or so will rely heavily on the behaviours adopted by healthcare leaders at all levels being able to work with leaders in other parts of the public and private system.
  • Leaders need to be able to engage and empower those working with them, and rely less on old style command and control approaches that inhibit innovation, discretionary effort and a more caring and considerate climate to work that generate both employee engagement and compassion in care.

Our History

The NHS Leadership Academy was established on 1st April 2012 to develop outstanding leadership in health in a consistent, systematic manner to ensure there is sufficient scale and pace to deliver the leadership required for the transition and to lead the new system within a tough financial regime requiring high levels of innovation, engagement and devolution.

Leadership development has been a regional priority in the South West since 2006 and recognising this long-standing commitment to improving heathcare through the development of effective leaders at all levels, the NHS South West Leadership Academy was formally authorised as a Local Delivery Partner of the National Leadership Academy on 5th December 2012.

NHS South West Leadership Academy is governed through a membership board to ensure we respond to the needs of our individuals, teams, organisations and STPs across the region, then nationally as a Local Leadership Academy of the NHS Leadership Academy.

On 1 April 2019, the NHS Leadership Academy moved to NHS England and NHS Improvement, in order to directly support the leadership and talent management requirements of the NHS Long Term plan.

The interim NHS people plan sets a vision for how people working in the NHS will be supported to deliver care and identifies the actions we will take to help them. This interim People Plan sets out our vision for people who work for the NHS to enable them to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan, with a focus on the immediate actions we need to take.

Receive our ‘Outlook’ newsletter

Latest issue: Leadership Outlook January-February 2020  

To receive updates about the team and what programmes are on offer, just click below to sign up!


Contact us

NHS South West Leadership Academy
South West House
Blackbrook Park Avenue
Somerset TA1 2PX

Telephone: 01454 252719

Email: leadership.SW@leadershipacademy.nhs.uk



Privacy policy