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A Breakfast Forum Perspective from Rob Webster

Rob Webster

We met as leaders in Leeds this morning. We had a great discussion about how we develop services which change and transform due to pressure from local people not just policy makers. This requires us to think very differently about how we create a system or culture that allows this to happen. In doing so, we need to recognise that some people find it hard to access our services and to have a voice in the debate. This results in phenomena like the “inverse care law” in health, where people who live in deprived areas who need more care, may actually receive less.

As leaders we thought we should make system leadership as important as the leadership of our organisations. We should act as a buffer to protect frontline teams who want to innovate and take risks. This is encapsulated by the comment that we should “give the ball to someone else to play with for a while”. We know that this will take time and persistence. We don’t believe there is an alternative. There are really powerful ways of driving this that we will explore – including the organisational changes happening across the city (using these to promote a new culture) and the membership model for foundation trusts.

Rob Webster


Rob Webster is the Chief Executive at the Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and is a regular contributor at Leaders for Leeds events.