October 16th 2023

Best Practice Lectures with Barrie Dowdeswell

Insights into the challenges and opportunities within the healthcare sector

MCI | The Entrepreneurial School® recently hosted two enriching Best Practice Lectures by Barrie Dowdeswell in September, providing valuable insights into the dynamics of the healthcare sector.

On September 14, the focus was on "Managing for Value: Navigating Formal Structures and Soft Systems." Barrie Dowdeswell’s visionary approach to management revolutionized the hospital, bringing clinical staff to the forefront of planning and decision-making processes. He utilized the Nurse Letby case to highlight the "iceberg effect," revealing various gaps between different branches in health care organizations. He emphasized the importance of bridging the gap between codified (explicit) knowledge and tacit (experiential) knowledge to harness the full potential of expertise within healthcare organizations. Dowdeswell's presentation served as a call for healthcare institutions to embrace innovative strategies, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and prioritize the value of patient care above all else.

On September 18, the lecture delved into "Leadership and Management in Practice: Understanding the Roles of Healthcare Managers." Dowdeswell underscored the prevalent role of leadership narratives in healthcare, where clinicians are often lauded as "leaders in their field", ward sisters provide essential nursing leadership, and CEOs offer directional guidance. He also recognized the emergence of spontaneous leaders from within clinical teams, particularly during the extraordinary challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barrie Dowdeswell was formerly CEO of the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, one of the UK’s leading teaching hospitals, located in the North-East of England. During this time, he instituted major reform of its management strategy bringing clinical staff to the centre of planning and decision-making. This opened the way to adoption of a new strategic plan to reconfigure service strategy and infrastructure investment to improve value and quality of care for the local population. He subsequently moved to the University of New South Wales, Sydney, on a two-year research fellowship before relocating back to Europe as Executive Director of a pan-European research organization focusing on ‘investing for value’ in the hospital sector. During this period, he was also appointed as an ‘expert advisor’ to the European Commission on capital investment and has also advised member states on healthcare reform. Barrie Dowdeswell is a long-standing visiting lecturer at MCI.