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Focus on people, the rest will follow
  1. Navina Evans1,
  2. Cheryl Evans2
  1. 1Chief Executive, Health Education England, Chief Workforce Officer, NHS England, London, UK
  2. 2Operations Manager, The Staff College: Leadership in Healthcare, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Navina Evans, Chief Executive, Health Education England, London, UK; ceo{at}


Background The Staff College: Leadership in Healthcare (Staff College) annual lectures were launched in 2013, with Sir Robert Francis QC delivering the first lecture following his recent report into Mid Staffs.

In 2015, the lecture was dedicated to the Staff College founder and visionary leader, Professor Aidan Halligan. In 2021, Dr Navina Evans CBE, at that time Chief Executive, Health Education England, and now also Chief Workforce Officer, NHS England, was invited to give The Staff College: Leadership in Healthcare annual keynote lecture.

Method The annual lecture is delivered free to an audience of Staff College alumni, friends and supporters, commissioners and their colleagues and associates within the health care sector. The lecture presentation has adapted to the changing times and audience, with 2020 being via a virtual environment online. 2021 saw our first hybrid, in person and streaming live lecture.

Results On 29 November 2021, Dr Navina Evans CBE, gave the inspiring keynote lecture, ‘Focus on the People and the rest will follow’.

Conclusion Navina shared powerful messages, searching and uncomfortable questions for leaders and touching personal stories. Navina spoke about the many narratives of equality and deep value of diversity for society, the importance of leaders understanding the impact of their behaviours and the role of feedback, the need to understand what we’re doing to prevent change and most crucially, the improvement in the quality of care for patients and their engagement with their care when leaders develop a culture of kindness and respect.

  • medical leadership
  • continuous improvement
  • engagement
  • learning
  • productivity

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  • Contributors This article was original written by author, NE, and given as a lecture at the staff college: Leadership in Healthcare Annual Professor Aidan Halligan Memorial Lecture, 29 November 2021. It has been edited by NE, and Charlie Brown, chief executive, staff college: leadership in healthcare and CE, operations manager, staff college: leadership in healthcare to be considered for publication.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.