Key points

  • Evidence supports the view that the right leader’s actions are important for improving quality and safety.
  • What should different leaders do to achieve improvements in different healthcare services? 
  • Leaders need to be aware of different improvement methods, quality systems and safety interventions, so this research review refers to the best literature for leaders on these subjects.
  • The focus of this review is on the actions which leaders need to be successful in creating quality systems, and enabling others to use methods to carry out improvements.

The review pulls together the best literature for leaders on different improvement methods, quality systems and safety interventions. It focuses on the actions which leaders need to be successful in creating quality systems, and enabling others to use methods to carry out improvements.

It summarises experiential evidence from consultants’ and leaders’ observations where the research evidence to guide leaders is weak.

The literature summarised can motivate leaders to do more if they see that leadership actions can be effective. It can also support them to consider what works elsewhere and to adapt it to their particular situation in order that they can make a real difference to the patients they serve.

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