The Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM) is the professional organisation for managers throughout health and social care in the UK, including: the NHS; independent providers; healthcare consultants and the armed forces.
IHM's focus is improving patient/user care wherever and whenever they need healthcare. The route to achieving this is through the promotion of excellence in healthcare management. They achieve this by:
- Publishing standards of management practice;
- Promoting the IHM Management Code of Conduct (covering behavioural and ethical aspects of management practice);
- Initiating and delivering an Accredited Manager Scheme;
- Establishing a Professional and Educational Development framework;
- Promoting Continuous Professional Development and implementing an online CPD validation and recording mechanism;
- Holding CPD events in the four UK countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
- Offering Recognition and Centre Approval Schemes that endorse and sanction the highest quality levels and standards of learning and training; and
- Establishing a coaches database to support members when they choose an executive coach.
The IHM is an influential organisation. It has access to the highest offices of the NHS, many of the senior players in the NHS are members and, more importantly, by promoting CPD the IHM has a direct influence on management practice of thousands of managers.
The IHM is continuously developing its educational portfolio and has developed a number of products - such as the Milestones Programme, the Vocational Training Scheme for Practice Managers, and the new MHSC postgraduate Certificate and Diploma.
Divisions and Regions
Every IHM member is allocated to a Division, or in England, a Region. There are separate divisions for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and regions in England are separated into East Midlands, East of England, London, North East, Yorkshire & the Humber, North West, South Central, South East Coast, South West and West Midlands.
Each Divisional or Regional Council arranges a programme of local events, meetings, management clubs and other networking activities. Members may attend events in other Divisions and Regions and are actively encouraged to participate and put forward ideas and comments. There are also opportunities to represent the Institute at national level on other professional bodies or consultative groups.
In addition to the geographical breakdown of members, which helps provide localised networking and support, IHM also recognises the need for managers to strengthen links with colleagues in similar settings as well as exchange expertise and information that is sector or interest specific. To this end IHM has established a growing number of Networks and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) based on work sectors, interest or expertise.
These networks and groups are both UK wide and international, formally constituted and can help shape and focus IHM's knowledge, direction and planning with regard to these areas. Members can join more than one group if they wish to. Some of the SIGs and Networks are for IHM Members only.
The current Special Interest Groups are:
- Independent Sector;
- Primary Care;
- Estates and Facilities.
There is also a number of Networks available (or being planned), including:
- Management Network;
- IHM/CCHSE Learning Partnership;
- Accredited Managers;
- Primary Care Managers; and
Both the SIGs and the Networks will include interactive forums, discussions groups, news, and events.
IHM Code of Conduct
The original IHM Code was created in 2001, after expectations about the role and quality of healthcare management in the public, private and independent sectors was brought into focus.
Media coverage of exceptional cases of bad healthcare professionals' performance not only dented public confidence in healthcare, it also bruised individual managers and their confidence in a vocation, which had previously been held with such conviction.
The IHM was invited to join a Steering Group chaired by Lord Newton of Braintree in 1999. A wide range of organisations considered whether a national code for managers to cover ethics, social and environmental responsibility, diversity and respect for others and lifelong learning should be drafted. Research indicated that there was general support for the development of a nationally recognised source of guidance for a Management Code for all sizes of organisations in the UK. The IHM Healthcare Management Code of Conduct was founded on these principles.
In developing the Code members stressed importance of ensuring that the key principles were founded upon relevant existing standards, such as the 'Seven Principles of Public Life' (the Nolan Principles).
The key themes of the IHM Code became:
- Honesty and openness;
- Accountability; and
Each member has a responsibility to the environment; to society; and to lead by example.