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    New plans to up-skill health sector managers

    Posted on October 6, 2012 by Gerald Flynn

    Belated focus on health managers’ development planned
    The Department of Health plans to promote an extensive development programme for health sector managers to compensate for a lack of consistent management development in recent years.

    Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, the department’s secretary general told a health managers’ conference that he thought that the winding up of the Office for Health Management in 2004 – when the HSE was launched – had been a mistake and that sufficient resources had not been allocated for the professional development of managers.

    “The competence of managers is as important as the competence of clinicians. The development and maintenance of managers’ competence and the development of your capabilities is something about which, as secretary general, I feel very strongly”, Dr McLoughlin told the Health Managers’ Institute conference in Dublin this week.

    “Equally, we will be supporting clinical managers in their development programme and people at the frontline, whether local managers or RDOs, I know the value you bring to the system and I want you to understand you are valued by the Department of Health and we value the relationship with you”, he added.

    Dr McLoughlin’s comments came in the wake of union criticisms that health sector managers had not been capable of implementing potential reforms and flexibilities under the terms of the Croke Park agreement.

    Miriam Ahern, president of the Institute of Management Consultants, welcomed the new emphasis on management development in the health sector. “My own personal experiences developing a values-driven leadership programme with senior health sector HR managers have highlighted the need to build capacity and competencies to successfully manage change and team-development in the sector.”

    “A key initiative in recent health leadership programmes has been to modernise and integrate management skills across different hospital departments, such as medical, nursing, catering, support, therapies and administration, in a tailored programme to ensure mutual understanding and respect in addressing similar problems”.

    “The health sector is different from ordinary commercial firms in that there is often a higher service commitment and patient-centred values guide decision-making rather than a profit motive. Successful management development taps into that great resource and driver while building personal skills and confidence”, Ms Ahern added.