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Programme Manager - Mental Health

South West Academic Health Science Network
Exeter, Devon
£40,000–£60,000 (depending upon experience) plus pension and other benefits.
Closing date
26 Jul 2021

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Job Function
Programme Manager
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Can you lead the spread and adoption of innovative practice to improve health equity? We are looking for an experienced Programme Manager who can use their passion and expertise to deliver end user benefit within a variety of mental health settings.

In 2013 a small group of founding member organisations established the South West Academic Health Science Network. They were motivated by a shared ambition to accelerate the adoption and spread of innovation across our region to improve population health and generate economic growth.

Step forward eight years and that ambition has become a reality. Working in collaboration with the AHSNs across England, our work transforms lives through innovation.

In the last year, our work as a network of AHSNs has benefited over 258,000 people and leveraged over £462m of investment into the health and life science sector. You can read more about the impact of our work nationally in our latest AHSN Network impact report and regional work in our annual review.

At the South West AHSN we focus our efforts on improving health equity – identifying and spreading innovative practice that helps close health equity gaps in access to care, quality of care, opportunity for a healthy life and agency in managing individual health.

Working with our members and partners, we share the ambition and opportunity to improve health equity through the adoption and spread of innovative practice. We do this by:

•               Spreading innovative practice across the health and care system through collaboration, practical support and knowledge sharing.

•               Building capability in our region to spread innovative practice and improve quality.

•               Supporting evaluation and application of learning to improve the delivery of health and care services.

As Programme Manager – Mental Health you will manage the development and delivery of our mental health programme which includes work to improve safety across a number of different health and care settings, using quality improvement methodology. This will involve building quick rapport with our key local, regional and national mental health stakeholders, and supporting the sector to implement innovative practice.

Our existing programme portfolio is broad. Current commissions include programmes to identify and spread proven innovation in partnership with NHS England, improve patient safety through our commission with NHS Improvement, and to support the uptake of innovation from the life science sectors in the health and care system with the Office of Life Sciences.

You will contribute to the development and sharing of insight and learning, support capability building and ensure the South West AHSN continues to extend its impact and influence locally, regionally and nationally.

Our Programme Managers are part of our Programmes business function and this role is based within the Clinical Portfolio of work, reporting to our Programme Director – Clinical.

Programme Managers work collaboratively with peer Programme Managers, matrix working with programmes staff, associates and clinical leads alongside South West AHSN colleagues to deliver a portfolio of national and regional programmes.

Role profile

This role is at the heart of our work to support frontline patient safety improvement work, and spread innovative practice and solutions within mental health, with a health equity focus.

From upskilling frontline staff in improvement methodology, to increasing the uptake of the latest innovations through our work with the Discovery team and innovators, you will help make sure our work translates into improved mental health care for the people in our region.

This work will be underpinned by quality improvement methodology and work to spread innovation and innovative practice. As the lead for Quality Improvement, through a robust knowledge of QI methodology you will teach, coach and facilitate improvement sessions.

Key success factors

•               Leading Programmes – proven ability to lead a complex portfolio of programmes with a focus on impact, with the ability to identify risks, anticipate issues and create solutions, and to resolve problems in relation to project or service delivery.

•               Adaptable – comfortable with change and working in uncertain environments; the ability to work without supervision, under pressure and to tight and often changing deadlines.

•               Learning mind-set – a track record working on complex issues, embedding learning into practice and generating insight to inform approaches.

•               Influencing – a self-motivated, accomplished communicator, with the ability to influence and persuade stakeholders of all levels using effective stakeholder management skills to problem solve, make decisions and overcome challenges.


•              Programme delivery – responsible for the co-design, development and effective delivery of our portfolio of mental health work across the programmes portfolios. Executed through providing patient safety and quality improvement capability; underpinned by project management expertise to meet commissioner requirements and aligned to the South West AHSN strategy that has a health equity focus.

•              Best practice – ensure all delivery programmes / projects are developed in recognition of national and international best practice and adopt the latest thinking on healthcare improvement.

•              Coaching, training, advice and guidance – provide coaching, training, advice and guidance in patient safety and quality improvement to individuals / project teams by drawing on previous experience of utilising quality improvement methodologies and approaches, including measurement for improvement.

•              Deputise for the Programme Director – Clinical – ensuring high level understanding of the National Patient Safety Improvement Programmes and National Patient Safety Strategy.

•              Programme governance and reporting – ensure effective governance and oversight of the programme of work in the design and delivery phases and ensure lessons are captured and learnt. Provide regular, accurate and detailed reporting on programme performance.

•               Network and external engagement – engage relevant national, regional and local stakeholders, utilising existing clinical knowledge and experience to link closely with relevant networks and clinical teams to undertake improvement and spread work, building local improvement capability and contributing to the dissemination of improvement learning.

•               Build strong relationships with other AHSNs and contribute to the success of the national AHSN Network.

•               Build partnerships between the NHS, innovators from the academic, commercial and third sectors to accelerate the adoption and spread of solutions that improve the mental health outcomes for the region.

•               People management – work within a diverse team of programme and project managers to ensure effective delivery of programme aims. Manage external contractors, associates and clinical advisors to deliver programme aims.

•               Internal relationships – develop close working relationships with colleagues from across our Partnerships team to identify and develop new partnership opportunities to grow our work. With our Evaluation and Learning team to define and measure the impact of our programmes. With our Communications team to engage partners in our programmes, communicate the impact of our work and raise our profile at a regional and national level. And with our Corporate Operations business functions.

•               Development – support the upskilling of the Programmes and Partnerships teams in QI methodology, including providing advice to the organisation on the strategic approach to delivering QI training.

Person specification

Experience we are looking for

•              Experience leading the delivery of multiple projects and programmes simultaneously for sustained impact, including knowledge of project and programme management frameworks.

•              Knowledge of change methodologies, with deep expertise in Quality Improvement (QI) frameworks such as the IHI Model for Improvement and their application to service improvement and spread.

•              A track record of influencing and managing senior stakeholder relationships to deliver improvement.

•              Knowledge of data analysis and performance/ operation metrics.

•              Excellent IT skills across a range of programmes and media.

•              A commitment to ongoing learning and knowledge sharing.

•              A project management qualification from professional bodies such as the APM and PMI is desirable.

Experience and capabilities you will develop in the role

•               Leading large scale change to improve health and care.

•               Supporting the design of and delivering the regional programmes focused on health equity.

•               Building multi-partner collaborations that deliver impact across a large geography.

•               Working as part of a national network to transform lives through healthcare innovation.

•               Applying quality improvement and spread methodologies to the delivery of innovative practice.

Abilities and attributes

•               Focus on impact – passionate, determined and goal focused with a track record and ongoing commitment to delivering excellence.

•               Ability to work without supervision – under pressure and to tight and often changing deadlines.

•               Strategic thinker – ability to effectively manage a complex range of competing priorities and make hard choices to achieve goals.

•               Confident in uncertainty – flexible and adaptable, comfortable with change and working in uncertain environments.

•               Strong communicator – a self-motivated, accomplished communicator with the ability to communicate convincingly to wide range of audiences.

•               Passion – a desire to improve health equity.

Programme Manager – Mental Health Reporting to: Programme Director – Clinical


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