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New models in clinical leadership: the Chief Medical Officer Clinical Advisor Scheme

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Background: Increasing evidence suggests that improving doctors' exposure to management can improve the quality of healthcare. Doctors can benefit from understanding and being able to use the perspectives and skills familiar to managers. Having doctors in senior management roles is now a National Health Service (NHS) priority. Existing approaches include educational offerings. The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Clinical Advisor Scheme was created to give doctors in training direct experience of working in senior management and leadership roles.

Aims: This article describes the rationale, history and development of the CMO Clinical Advisor Scheme to date.

Methods: The descriptions of the history and structure of the scheme, along with the challenges and approaches taken, were provided by the authors, all of whom worked closely with the CMO in the development and running of the scheme.

Results: The scheme has grown from one member in 2005 to 32, working at a range of NHS and healthcare-linked organisations, with opportunities to work with the World Health Organization Patient Safety Programme. Selection criteria were designed to reflect the lack of leadership and management opportunities faced by most doctors in training. In each case, participants were seconded from the NHS to work closely with a senior medical leader in an apprentice-style relationship. In addition to this experiential learning, formal learning sets were delivered at six-weekly intervals, frequently by the CMO.

Conclusions: This scheme has been successfully established and has grown in size and scope. The involvement of the Department of Health has been essential in creating this unique scheme that is national, experiential and gives access to highly senior leaders for apprenticeship. This complements other schemes that use different modalities and is aligned to stated NHS goals for developing clinical leadership.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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