Two medically qualified NHS hospital chief executives have recently bitten the dust. First, Mark Newbold from Heart of England Hospitals, and now Keith McNeil at Addenbrookes. Two swallows do not make a summer and some medical chiefs have had very successful careers at the top – Sir Jonathan Michael, for example, is now on his third such appointment. Yet Newbold and McNeil had had successful earlier management careers at senior levels. They are impressive characters. Maybe it is harder for a medic than for a generic administrator to pull off the chief executive role. In many hospitals the chief executive and the medical director are a “duality”, with a close personal relationship, and high levels of trust, such that the medical director can sample the mood of consultants and act as a “lightning conductor”. What do others think?
— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director