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Leadership Impotency at the Top – An emergent UK NHS crisis illustrated through the Ebola narrative

This article is provocative but necessary, dealing with an emerging NHS issue that falls under the cloak of politically correctness but inside of which is a brewing catastrophe that will touch every service in the land. I’m describing it using the Ebola story in illustration but make no mistake this is a UK crisis coming to a Trust near you!

At first glance it is easy to think there is little relationship between Liberia’s Ebola disaster and the challenges facing our NHS. At a structural and capability level that may be true but when you examine the leadership behaviours in both systems, you see a frighteningly common pattern that is at least partly, if not almost entirely causative of the woes they and we face. It raises some provocative questions. If the actions, or inactions, of leaders lead to a crisis becoming a disaster, to what degree are those leaders responsible? How do we rationalise accountability between doing the wrong thing versus not doing the right thing? How do we address a growing crisis when the understanding, behaviour and approach of our upper leaders is wholly inadequate? Is this indeed what we are experiencing currently and very uncomfortably in the NHS? The evidence is damning and suggests large scale inadequacy at the point of greatest need… and that’s in the NHS, let alone Liberia.

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