Strategic management

An NHS strategic manager is a leader that puts patients, the public and our staff at the very heart of decision making and setting the organisation's direction.  

"The best part of my job is that I have the opportunity to improve patient care for 7.5 million people across the north west."

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Working life

You will be play a major part on setting the vision, aims and objectives for the organisation and creating routes towards reaching these goals. You could also be responsible for planning and implementing change and you're likely to be a senior leader.

Job roles will vary depending on the organisation, but essentially have responsibility for the successful delivery of a range of services within the organisation. In the NHS, your role in strategic management will certainly involve:

  • leading people
  • resource and budget management
  • working with clinical colleagues and cross-functional teams to improve the way in which services are delivered
  • consulting patients and the public
  • focusing on how the NHS can be modernised to meet patients’ needs.

Your role could range from being responsible for a whole service division of staff and a multi-million pound budget in a hospital trust to managing primary care or mental health services over a wide geographical area and across many sites.

Roles in strategic management

Examples of roles in strategic management include:

Change manager

In this example, you’d be working in a large acute trust and would play a pivotal role in shaping and transforming the future of the trust. It would initially focus on delivering benefits in an area such as diagnostic imaging services, working with clinicians and managers and then move into wider clinical or non-clinical areas.

Commissioning manager (social inclusion)

This is a varied and challenging example of a role working in primary care and would give you the opportunity to develop unique services for people often excluded from planning.

Working with a range of services, you’d be responsible for ensuring that the differing needs of the community were met efficiently. The role would involve commissioning and developing healthcare services for a variety of groups, such as:

  • HM prison
  • asylum seekers
  • black and ethnic communities
  • as well as developing smoking cessation services.

Director of strategic development

Based in a mental health trust, you would be an executive director and play a significant role in shaping the future mental health services and social care provision. You would offer a board overview of new developments in specific areas such as the child and adolescent service and regional women’s forensic services.

General manager

You would be based in a high profile directorate within one of England’s largest mental health trusts. This directorate forms a key part of the NHS's plans to reform the management, assessment and treatment of high risk patients thought to be dangerous and severely personality disordered (DSPD).

As a member of the directorate management, you’d provide strategic support and professional guidance, while managing a multi-million pound budget and over 300 people.

Want to learn more?

  • Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales.  This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers.

    Although you could work your way up from administrative and supervisory roles in between bands 3-6, working in a strategic management role in the NHS your salary would typically be around AfC bands 8 and 9. There would be opportunities at director level, some of which would be on the Very Senior Managers pay scales, typically in excess of £100,000 per year.

    Staff in the NHS will usually work a standard 37.5 hours per week.

    Terms and conditions of service can vary for employers outside the NHS.

  • With further training and/or experience, you may be able to develop your career further and apply for more senior managerial roles.

    Progression for those with ability is typically via operational management in a large hospital.

    Relocation for promotion is common.

    More diverse routes are now opening up, for example, jointly-funded posts between health and social services.

    Graduates from the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme are expected to gain rapid promotion.

    Management qualifications, such as an MBA (Master of Business of Administration) or DMS (Diploma in Management Studies) may be an advantage for some posts.

  • When you’re looking for managerial jobs or apprenticeship vacancies, there are a number of sources you can use but most vacancies are advertising on the NHS Jobs website.

    Just some of the current vacancies are below.

    Find a vacancy

  • For further information about a career in strategic management, please contact:

Other roles that may interest you

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