Supportive leadership

Supportive leadership

We have a range of resources to facilitate the provision of supportive leadership within anaesthetic departments and hospital trusts.  

We recognise the important role that Wellbeing Leads and Clinical Directors can have in aspects of staff wellbeing across the wider hospital trust/board. 

We recommend that Wellbeing Leads are appointed in all anaesthetic departments. To support this recommendation, we have worked in partnership with the Association of Anaesthetists to develop a Wellbeing Lead job description, requirements and person specification.  

The need for a dedicated Wellbeing Lead is already documented in the Association of Anaesthetists guidelines and our Guidelines for the Provision of Anaesthetic Services: The Good Department and Anaesthesia Clinical Services Accreditation. However, the role has not been universally adopted and the expectations and responsibilities of the role currently differ widely between departments.    

The role of Wellbeing Lead can be undertaken by any autonomously practising anaesthetist, such as a consultant or SAS doctor. 

Useful resources 

  • Workforce Wellbeing through Compassionate Leadership. This episode of our podcast, Anaesthesia on Air, features Dr Ramai Santhirapala and Dr Roopa McCrossan in conversation with Professor Michael West. They discuss the components of compassionate leadership in support of workforce wellbeing and how to lead with kindness and compassion during times of high pressure or intensity. 

  • Dealing with Bullying. We support the #KnockItOut campaign to tackle workplace bullying, harassment and undermining. 

  • Critical staffing #2: A best practice framework for wellbeing and sustainable working in Critical Care. This framework from the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine provides advice on how to make your Critical Care unit and the wider hospital an attractive place to work; somewhere staff can thrive, while also taking into account the increasing demands on capacity, ageing workforce, changing demographics and expectations of the workforce. 

  • Evidence based approached to workforce wellbeing. This article from NHS Employers provides details of evidence based approaches to workforce wellbeing. This evidence base including reports and studies can be used to build a business case for making changes in your organisation.  

  • Workforce Wellbeing Best Practice Framework. This best practice framework from the Intensive Care Society provides guidance to commissioners and budget holders, senior hospital management and the intensive care team on ways to provide the best possible employee experience within intensive care. 

  • Leading well for staff health and wellbeing in the NHS. If you have a leadership role in the NHS, this free, online course will help you develop your understanding of your own health and wellbeing and learn to better lead and support your colleagues, team and organisation. Developed by The King’s Fund and available from FutureLearn, the course can be completed over 3 weeks (3 hours study a week).  

  • If you work in a management or leadership role in the NHS, this presentation from Dr Joanna Poole provides a powerful insight into her experience of moral injury and what more can and should be done to support healthcare staff. Her fascinating and honest talk weaves in stories from other medical workers, insights from evolution, military history, and ancient Rome.