Image: Leadership.How Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust worked with Skills for Health to devise a bespoke leadership programme for its managers.

The Challenge

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, which employs 3,500 people and serves patients from across Wiltshire, North Dorset and Hampshire, wanted to help its Grade 5 and 6 staff embrace the challenges of leadership and management. The Trust wanted these managers to learn to balance the conflicting demands on their time, and most importantly to find ways of improving the service they provide to the public.

How they did it

The Trust had already identified development needs, and so Skills for Health worked with the Trust to decide on the training that would be required, and agreed on delivering it through a mixture of face-to-face sessions, elearning, and coaching.

The aim of the 8-month programme was to help the participants, who included admin and clerical staff, and nurses, to identify the personal qualities needed in a good leader. They would develop an understanding of effective team leadership, and learn how services could be delivered more effectively by empowering others in the team. They would also discover how emotional intelligence is used by good leaders.

Skills for Health delivered a number of one-day workshops, including: Introduction to leadership; Leadership styles and qualities; Dealing with change; and Communication skills. The elearning programmes covered Principles of Business Management. Individual coaching sessions and action learning sets complemented the formal learning.

Each participant was tasked with identifying an area of their service for improvement, so that they could apply their learning from the leadership programme to their own working environment.


Skills for Health undertook evaluation of the workshop events and an overall programme evaluation including the elearning elements. The responses were very positive with all delegates stating that they had developed a number of skills and knowledge around leadership and management.

The Trust also ensured that the participants evaluated their achievements using the NHS 360-degree feedback system. Each person also presented to the other delegates on their service improvement project, and received on-the-spot feedback and encouragement.


  • The Trust’s patients have benefited, because all participants on the course have implemented new ways of working. For example, a physiotherapist improved the way that elderly patients were taken through the hospital; another clinician improved the running of a retinal screening clinic; elsewhere, a simplified and improved invoicing structure was put in place
  • Participants have reported feeling better equipped to carry out their leadership duties, particularly with regard to managing their teams
  • Because participants came from different departments and areas, they increased their understanding of different issues and working environments
  • All the modules in the leadership development programme were matched to the Management and Leadership National Occupational Standards, ensuring a recognisable and transferable quality.

“We’re delighted to have worked with Skills for Health on the leadership development programme. One of their strengths was that Skills for Health’s staff had been clinicians themselves and therefore had a lot of credibility with our participants. Our staff have had their eyes opened to management and leadership, and as a result, our patients have benefited through improvements to their services.”

Janine Osmond
Head of Learning and Development for Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

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