NHS under pressure to address its lack of female leaders

Two reports launched this week call for more women in NHS leadership roles

NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) has published a report calling for the gender imbalance in clinical commissioning leadership to be addressed.

It examines why there is a lack of gender diversity in health leadership, efforts being made to improve this, and actions that need to be taken to increase female leadership. 

Women in Clinical Commissioning Leadership: A Case for Change calls on NHS England to appoint a champion for women and to regularly publish data on the number of females in leadership positions.

The NHSCC also calls on its members to champion female clinical leaders, develop a talent management programme to identify and support women to lead, and measure progress in achieving gender equality.

NHSCC chief executive Julie Wood said: ‘Not only is achieving gender equality the right thing to do for the sake of fairness, it’s also crucial to improving performance. Research has shown that organisations with at least three women out of every ten members on their boards do better than those without, in terms of operational excellence and financial performance.’

Another report published this week, from NHS Employers in collaboration with UN Women, also calls for action on the gender imbalance in NHS leadership. 

NHS Women in Leadership: Plan for Action, written by Dr Penny Newman, explores the under-representation of women in the health service and the benefits that gender equality could bring, including increased productivity, improved performance and meeting patients’ needs.

NHS Improvement chair Ed Smith called for gender parity to apply throughout the NHS and for targets on equal representation to be set.

Women in Clinical Commissioning Leadership: A Case for Change can be downloaded here

NHS Women in Leadership: Plan for Action can be viewed here

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