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The Quarterly 2011

Dear Editor,

The reason for this letter is to reflect on an article by Dr. Lee Gruner written from the competencies perspective of an RACMA Fellow. The focus was on public perception of "the dire state of public hospitals", so the first question the article sought to examine was whether the public health sector is in crisis or it is just a perception formed by media. And even while the initial answer was "no" when considering some other factors, I came to the conclusion that the crisis exists. It is not a systemic crisis; it is a failure of one of the components of corporate governance – failure of communication strategy as part of clinical leadership.

Communication is one of the key RACMA competencies. Lack of communication is one of the "fatal flaws" of clinical leadership, according to Folkman and Zender, as cited by L. Gruner.

80% of complaints are linked to poor communication, according to MPS data. The recent survey of clinical leadership conducted by Hutt Valley District Health Board earlier this year identified communication gaps as the most frequent and the most important area of clinical leadership to be addressed. Based on the article, it is possible to assume that traditional communication strategy relying mostly on communication advisor(s) is not effective enough. One of the key lessons to be learned for a successful medical administrator is how to re-design existing communication strategy on a basis of broad alliance with clinicians and patients, and to establish effective bi-lateral communication channels to allow transferring all necessary messages from and to general public.

The RACMA competencies framework could be used as guidance for establishing and fostering collaboration and partnership among all groups of health professionals to achieve better outcomes for patients by increasing level of their confidence.

Dr Sergey Bibikov
RACMA Candidate

1. Gruner, Lee. Focus on Quality: Health In Crisis and The Effect On Patient Confidence. The Quarterly. Vol.43 No.4 December 2010. Retrieved on 12.08.2011 from http://www.racma.edu.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=487&Itemid=523.
2. Gruner, Lee. Practical Leadership: understanding and developing competencies. The Quarterly, June 2011. Retrieved on 12.08.2011 from http://www.racma.edu.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=487&Itemid=523
3. Medical Protection Society. Education and Risk Management. The Essential Risk Management Workshop Series 2011. Retrieved 29.08.2011 from http://www.medicalprotection.org/newzealand/mastering-your-risk-workshops

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