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New inquiry on NHS leadership, performance and patient safety begins hearing evidence

11 April 2024

In March the Committee’s Independent Expert Panel warned that action on major patient safety issues pledged by Government going back as far as 2013 ‘requires improvement’, including in areas such as maternity care and leadership, staff training, and safety culture and whistleblowing.  

The first session of this new inquiry examining NHS leadership, performance and patient safety will start by looking at progress on two recent, high-profile reviews of how leadership and patient safety are managed in the NHS.  

The 2022 Messenger Review examined the state of leadership and management in the NHS, and the 2019 Kark Review assessed NHS processes - including the “fit and proper person” test - for preventing unsuitable staff from being re-deployed or re-employed in health and social care settings. 

Across two panels with experts in medical leadership, the NHS Confederation and The Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman - which acts as the “court of last resort” for complaints against the NHS - the session will explore: 

  • The relationship between NHS leadership and patient safety, and between NHS performance and patient safety 
  • What “good leadership” means in different health and care settings and levels: whether individual Trusts, the new Integrated Care Systems, primary or secondary care 
  • The cases for and against greater regulation of NHS leaders; and the role of clinicians in leading health services and the case for extending it 
  • How adequate protection and support is for whistleblowers who raise concerns about clinicians or patient care, how leadership can support improvements in the culture around “speaking up” and how the NHS learns from patient safety incidents 


Starting at 10:00am

  • General Sir Gordon Messenger, Leader at Review of Leadership for a collaborative and inclusive future 
  • Professor Rich Withnall, Chief Executive at Faculty of Medical Management and Leadership 

At approximately 10:45am

  • Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive at NHS Confederation 
  • Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive at Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman 

Further information

Image: Adobe Stock