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Mr Tim Smart “Learning to Lead” - Birmingham Medical Leadership Society Lecture 2

Written by jacob matthews · Monday 2nd December 2013

Last Wednesday (27/11/13) was Birmingham Medical Leadership Society’s second lecture in its autumn series on why healthcare professionals should become involved in management and leadership.

Firstly, a really big thank you to Mr Smart for travelling all the way to Birmingham for free (!) to speak to us. It was a brilliant event and certainly sparked some debate. A second big thank you to Michelle and Angie – the University of Birmingham Alumni and marketing team who helped organise this event and recorded it – a video will hopefully be available online soon.

Mr Tim Smart is the CEO of King’s NHS Foundation Trust and has been for the last few years – a period in which King’s has had some of the most successive hospital statistics in the UK. Is there a secret to managing such a successful hospital?
“It’s a people business. Patients are what we are here for and we must never forget that”

Mr Smart doesn’t enjoy giving lectures, so instead he had an “intimate chat” covering his personal philosophy of why we as medical students and junior doctors should consider a career in management at some point.

Good managers should be people persons. Doctors are selected for being good at talking to and listening to people – these are directly translatable skills.

Good managers should be team leaders. Medicine is becoming more and more a team occupation, we are all trained to work, think and act as a team and especially doctors are expected to know how to lead this team. Again, a directly transferable skill.

Good managers need to know how to make decisions based on incomplete knowledge and basic statistics. Doctors make life-altering clinical decisions every day based statistics and incomplete knowledge. A very important directly transferable skill.

Good managers get out of their offices, meet the staff and walk around their empires. Doctors, whether surgeons, GP’s or radiologists have to walk around the hospitals on their routine business and have to deal with a huge variety of staff from every level. To be a great doctor you need to know how to get the best out of the staff around you, to get the tasks done that your patients’ need. Directly transferable skills.

Good managers are quick on the up-take and are always looking for new ways to improve their departments. Doctors have to stay on top of the literature and are committed to a life-time of learning new and complex topics. Directly transferable.

Good managers are honest and put in place systems that try to prevent bad situations occurring again. Good doctors are honest and own up when they make a mistake, they then try to ensure that that mistake isn’t made again. Directly Transferable.

Even good managers sometimes have difficulties getting doctors to do what they want – because the managers are not doctors. Doctors that become managers still have the professional reputation of a doctor. A very transferable asset that can be used to encourage their colleagues to do what should be done.

A good manager values their staff – especially the nurses. A good doctor knows just how important the nurses, ODP, physio’s and other healthcare professionals and hospital staff are. This is one of the best reasons why doctors should get involved with management. We understand the front line. We know the troops. We know the problems. We are more than capable of thinking of some of the solutions!

“Project management isn’t magic”

“Everything done within a hospital should be to benefit patients – therefore everything in the hospital should be answerable to patients, including the hospital shop!”

“Reward excellence, otherwise you get mediocrity”

At the present The University of Birmingham Students Medical Leadership Society is in contact with the FMLM and other similar groups at the Universities of Bristol, Barts and Oxford. We are looking to get in contact with every other society in the country. If you are a new or old MLS then please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you and are happy to help your societies in any way we can – we would also love to attend your events so please do send us an invite.

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Come along to our up coming events…

Thursday 5th December LT3 Medical School, 6pm
‘Why should doctors get involved in management’
By Dr Mark Newbold, CEO of BHH NHS Trust

Wednesday 22nd January 2014 LT3 Medical School, 6pm
‘Has the NHS lost the ability to care?’ – responding to the Mid Staffs inquiry’
By Prof Jon Glasby, Director of the Health Services Management Centre , UoB

Thursday 20th February LT3 Medical School, 6pm
‘Creating a Major Trauma Unit at the UHB Trust’
By Sir Prof Keith Porter, Professor of Traumatology, UHB

Saturday 8th March LT3 Medical School, 1pm
‘Applying the Theory of Constraints to Healthcare
By Mr A Dinham and J Nieboer ,QFI Consulting