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Developing a healthier Wales through a culture of compassionate leadership

Our NHS needs more compassionate leaders who will ensure a culture of wellbeing, continuous improvement, openness and psychological safety.

Whilst each of us will describe a healthy compassionate workplace slightly differently, Professor Michael West and the Kings Fund highlights that we all need three things: 

  1. Autonomy: to make our own decisions
  2. Belonging: feeling part of something with the people around us
  3. Competence: being able to do our jobs


What we’re doing

Supported by Welsh Government, Health and Social Care Services and NHS Wales, HEIW is developing a strategy to embed compassionate leadership; an approach developed by Professor Michael West and the Kings Fund.

We also offer the following training opportunities:

  • Advanced Clinical Leadership programme (a course)
  • Welsh Clinical Leadership Training Fellowship (WCLTF) (a 12 month secondment)


What is compassionate and collective leadership?

Compassionate leadership at its simplest requires people to:

  • Attend – give time and listen with fascination
  • Understand – find out what and why
  • Empathise – care about the other person
  • Help – support / take appropriate action

There is clear evidence of the link between these approaches, the focus on workforce wellbeing and the quality of patient care.



The Gwella leadership portal is a digital resource which provides more information about all of the above, as well as access to a wide range of compassionate leadership and management resources.

It is available for all NHS Wales staff.