The patient always comes first
Posted on 26 November 2012 by Paul Flynn
Judging the HSJ (Health Service Journal) award for Clinical Leader of the Year was an uplifting experience. At a time when doctors are feeling under increasing pressure, it was good to hear about people trying to do their very best for patients and being able to bring their colleagues along with them.
The BMA and the GMC jointly sponsored the award, which reflects the importance of clinical leadership. There were 10 shortlisted nominees, made up of nine doctors and one nurse. The standard of entries was extraordinarily good, and there were moments when I really felt astounded by the amazing things people had achieved.
The winner was Paul Grundy, clinical director and consultant neurosurgeon at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
Rhidian Bramley, chief clinical information officer and director of radiology at Manchester’s Christie NHS Foundation Trust, was highly commended.
The judges felt Mr Grundy was the epitome of a truly outstanding clinical leader. He had brought in a wide range of improvements and innovations, which led to his unit having the lowest length of stay for neurosurgery in the country. And we were impressed by the energy, enthusiasm and drive of Dr Bramley.
What impressed me most about all the entrants was the level of innovation. The recurring theme was about making the care of patients better rather than candidates trying to put themselves on a pedestal or get publications in journals.
Quite a number of the candidates were young consultants within the first few years of being appointed. I remarked to my fellow judge how it made a nonsense of suggestions that consultants should only concentrate on service delivery when they’re first appointed and have a reduced amount of supporting professional activities. If that was the policy across the board, we would have lost a lot of great service developments and innovations. The high standard of all the entrants made it very difficult to choose the winner.
Each entrant and the person who nominated them were given 10 to 15 minutes to talk about why they deserved the award. Their presentations were then discussed by the judges. Besides me, the judges were GMC chief executive Niall Dickson, the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Tony Spotswood, and Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Mark Newbold.
The award is for leadership rather than doing great things individually, so one of the things we were looking at was how the candidates had influenced their colleagues.
The ceremony took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on November 20.
Paul Flynn is chair of the BMA consultants committee
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