Cancer workforce: clinical leadership guidance

Information for cancer service colleagues across NHS Scotland on opportunities for developing clinical leadership skills. The guidance highlights tools to help identify leadership development needs and how to progress these at all career stages.

1. Introduction

Recovery and Redesign: An Action Plan for Cancer Services is the Scottish Government's National Cancer Plan, setting out 68 actions focusing on service recovery and redesign over 2021 to 2023. The plan was prepared by the Scottish Government Cancer Policy Team and reflects our priorities as our services continue to respond and evolve in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our workforce is integral to the delivery of the plan and for ensuring a resilient service thereafter. A section of the plan is dedicated to actions around supporting our workforce and fostering their talents. Nurturing the next generation of clinical leaders is one of our priorities and forms the basis of action 52, outlined below. Also recognising that service pressures caused by the pandemic have left limited time for many colleagues to pursue career development opportunities over the past two years, we have developed this guidance document to illustrate the various leadership development opportunities which are available and how individuals can go about accessing them.

National Cancer Plan Action 52:

Clinical leadership and advice are a key component of continuous improvement in cancer services and nurturing the next generation of clinical leaders, including primary care, will be vital to this. We will provide guidance to Health Boards on how they can support this approach.[1]

Specifically, the purpose of this guidance is to:

i. Highlight the variety of leadership learning opportunities available to cancer workforce colleagues at all levels in their career
ii. Demonstrate to individuals and managers the value of taking a strategic approach in order to identify and unlock the optimum learning pathway for the individual and the service
iii. Encourage new talent to take up national leadership roles in cancer
iv. Promote widespread implementation across cancer services but in accordance with local circumstances

In developing this guidance we conducted a desk-based assessment of different types of leadership development opportunities complemented by interviews with selected conveners. The draft guidance document was refined based on feedback from conveners, the National Cancer Recovery Group and a small sample of individual cancer service colleagues for whom the guidance is intended. The guidance document was approved by the National Cancer Recovery Group on 6th August 2021.

Dissemination was subsequently delayed due to the increased service pressures across NHS Scotland over winter 2021/22 as a result of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. It was deemed more appropriate to circulate this guidance in spring 2022 when staff would potentially have more scope to consider professional development opportunities.

It should be stressed that this is an illustrative exercise designed to encourage Health Boards, managers and individuals to consider the leadership development opportunities available across the service; it is not an exhaustive audit of all available tools, resources and content.



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