Our Case Studies

Learning to Lead Together

A new training programme has been created by Collaborative Newcastle which provides multi-agency leadership development across the whole system, for senior staff at the health and care organisations in the City.  

The aim is to build stronger working relationships and embed trust, understanding and closer cooperation and collaboration, at the same time as developing key leadership skills and strategies.

Since launching, 25 staff have completed the course. By the end of 2021, a further 100 will have graduated from the programme, representing a diverse mix of organisations, roles and responsibilities – including GPs, pharmacists, finance directors, clinicians and health and care managers.

Some of our recent graduates have shared their experiences…

Steph Edusei, St Oswald’s Hospice

What is your current role?

I run a large hospice in Newcastle and have overall responsibility for both service delivery and income generation, which includes our shops and fundraising team. As Chief Executive, I’m responsible for providing strategic direction for the organisation as a whole.

What are the key things you learned?

Having worked in the NHS and then latterly in the voluntary sector, it was great to see the two coming together in this programme. The importance of statutory services recognising the value of the voluntary and community sector really came across strongly and I gained a much greater understanding of the organisational barriers that exist, which we need to collectively overcome. I also gained a lot from the session on staff management which looked at how we can move away from more conventional processes to better engage, inspire and motivate our teams.

What did you gain from doing the course with people from other organisations?

The programme really helped to strengthen my networks and relationships across the health and care sector in the City. In many cases it was brilliant to put faces to names and to get to know and understand different perspectives. We were able to hear about colleagues’ diverse experiences which helps to broaden our own knowledge and understanding, and undoubtedly improves our ability to work collaboratively going forward.

Susan Djouama, Newcastle City Council

What is your current role?

I’m involved in commissioning social care services for people within Newcastle. This involves understanding what kind of support our population needs, finding good quality providers to deliver this at the right price, developing provision where there’s a gap in the market and monitoring the quality of the services delivered.

What are the key things you learned?

It’s really important for everyone to see what they’re doing in the context of the system. I’ve also learned that authenticity is key to good leadership – be you, be kind, be involved – and that I need to have the confidence to step up to or step down from a challenge or work opportunity; saying no isn’t a failure!

What did you gain from doing the course with people from other organisations?

There are a lot of talented people out there! Whatever we worked on was made all the better because of the breadth of perspectives.

Bill Kay, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

What is your current role?

My current role is Associate Director, covering inpatient wards in the North Locality of the Trust. I have responsibility for the operational delivery of services, which involves a range of tasks including patient safety, clinical governance and compliance with external assessment, service user and carer involvement, and workforce, finance and partnership working across the wider health and social care system.

What are the key things you learned?

I gained a much wider understanding of health & social care systems and how they interface, as well as a greater appreciation for the pressures in different parts of the system. I now better understand the challenge patients can face in navigating their way through different organisations and services too. I also learned a great deal about different leadership styles and the programme provided a healthy dose of self-reflection about my own strengths and areas for development. The importance of good communication and building strong relationships with others is key and I found the concept of ‘permission to fail’ really thought provoking and empowering.

What did you gain from doing the course with people from other organisations?

Learning alongside colleagues from other health and care organisations gave me a much better understanding of how to assist those that we serve, in navigating the system and improving the offer. I also gained a satisfying realisation that we all want the same thing – which is the best for people in our communities that use our services. It also gave me great confidence in the quality of our health and social care provision here in the region, which gives us a real platform to build upon and improve.

Julia Blagburn, Newcastle Hospitals

What is your current role?

I am a pharmacist supporting integrated services in Newcastle; I lead a team of patient facing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians improving population health with medicines.

What are the key things you learned?

I was preparing for a new role working with the City’s other health and social care providers. The programme increased my collaborative leadership knowledge and skills which has made an immediate impact on our team interactions and on our medium- and long-term strategic plans.

What did you gain from doing the course with people from other organisations?

I was able to extend my professional network further into other organisations and I anticipate this integration will improve the range and quality of things we are able to do together. We believe that working together across the system is key to solving some of the problems that patients experience; problems arise when organisations have conflicting goals or pathways that don’t meet seamlessly around the patient.

Marc Hopkinson, Newcastle Gateshead CCG

What is your current role?

My current role is Associate Director and I’m responsible for the commissioning and operational delivery of urgent and emergency care services. However, for the past year I have been Covid-19 Incident Director for the North Integrated Care Partnership where I have worked very closely with all parts of the health and care system.

What are the key things you learned?

It enhanced my ability to influence and collaborate more effectively – crucial in ensuring integration across a number of systems and at different levels. It made me more politically astute and intellectually flexible; I know that effective system leaders use political awareness to deliver improved outcomes. The programme also really made me aware of my emotional intelligence and the importance of appreciating other perspectives and seeking common purpose and understanding.

What did you gain from doing the course with people from other organisations?

Everyone brought a different viewpoint, was resourceful and at times honestly opened up and shared their own strengths and weaknesses, which we all learned and benefitted from greatly. I was able to create and develop new, open, trusting relationships with fellow participants which importantly I have been able to maintain and benefit from.

Dan Shelley, Newcastle Hospitals

What is your current role?

I lead the team that is responsible for the procurement and supply of all goods and services used across the Trust, everything from pens and pencils to Hips, Knees and MRI scanners.

What are the key things you learned?

I have gained a great perspective on the numerous elements that come together to make up the system as well as an understanding of why change at a system level can be so difficult. Problems that at first appear insurmountable can, by working together across the wider system, be broken down to deliver real change. I have also learned that there is a huge amount of knowledge, passion and expertise across Newcastle and if we come together to tackle an issue as a system, far more is achievable.

What did you gain from doing the course with people from other organisations?

Working with people from the other anchor institutions, as well as the guest speakers, gave me a real chance to understand different perspectives on what is often the same issue. The course also allowed me to establish long lasting relationships with colleagues from across the patch, making future collaboration and problem solving much more likely.

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