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Former M&S boss drafted in to advise on NHS leadership

Fomer Marks and Spencer chair Sir Stuart Rose has been appointed by the Department of Health to advise on attracting and retaining top managers in the NHS in England.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt, announcing the appointment today, said this would help ‘transform the culture’ in under-performing hospitals.

Sir Stuart will be focusing particularly on problems at the 11 trusts placed under ‘special measures’ as identified by NHS England medical director Professor Bruce Keogh, plus a further three put under the measures since October.

He will also be advising on how NHS trusts can improve their organisational culture, through leaders ‘being more visible and in touch with frontline patients, services and staff’, the DH said.

Sir Stuart said: ‘Clearly the NHS is a very different institution from M&S, but leadership, motivating staff and creating a culture where people are empowered to do things differently are crucial to the success of any organisation, and I’m looking forward to helping in any way I can.’

A separate review led by Sir David Dalton, chief executive at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, will look at how to make best use of its best existing leaders – so-called ‘superheads’ – to spread best practice and take on struggling trusts or establish national networks as ‘beacons of excellence’.

Mr Hunt said: ‘Good care should never depend on your postcode, which is why Ofsted-style hospital inspections are so important. But the difference between good and bad care can often lie in leadership, which is why I’m delighted that one of the country’s most inspirational leaders has agreed to advise me on how we can attract and retain the brightest and best managers into the NHS so we transform the culture in under-performing hospitals.

‘We can also do more to exploit the extraordinary leadership in our best hospitals by making it easy for NHS superheads to take over struggling organisations. Sir David Dalton is one such leader, who with his team has turned Salford Royal into one of the best hospitals in the country.’