Hospital Dr News

Lack of leadership training for juniors wastes potential to improve healthcare

Junior doctors believe their leadership and management training is inadequate in providing the skills needed to deliver sustainable quality improvements in healthcare.

That’s the conclusion of a report published by the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management, called The state of medical leadership and management training for junior doctors.

The findings of an anonymous survey show 91% of respondents report they had proposed at least one idea how either patient care or their working environment could be improved, but more than two thirds had not seen their ideas implemented in a sustainable way.

The report, by FMLM’s Trainee Steering Group (TSG), shows that development in leadership and management was most affected by a lack of time and opportunity due to consistent high workload and frequent, short rotations; this was also exacerbated by a lack of training and support.

Junior doctors agreed there had been some success in moving leadership and management up the medical training agenda – with 72% of respondents believing leadership and management training was considered a priority by their seniors – but the majority of respondents did not feel they were receiving enough training to implement the system changes and improvements currently needed in hospitals and GP surgeries.

One respondent commented: “When I become a consultant, I hope to have a bigger voice.”

The report puts forward eight recommendations to increase the ability of junior doctors to make sustained and meaningful improvements to patient care and their working environment.

The recommendations include:

  • Recognising leadership and management as belonging to a doctor’s core skills
  • Structuring rotations to improve access to leadership and management experience
  • Ensuring junior doctors are better informed and supported to engage with leadership opportunities
  • Supporting junior doctors to contribute to the management and strategic objectives of their hospitals and primary care practices
  • Embedding dedicated time for junior doctors’ to develop their leadership skills and capabilities
  • Making leadership fellowships more widely available for junior doctors
  • Providing shadowing opportunities for junior doctors of all grades
  • Ensuring junior doctors’ quality improvement projects are prioritised for sustainability by healthcare trusts, boards, educators and junior doctors themselves.

Mr Peter Lees, FMLM Chief Executive and Medical Director, said: “It is essential that leadership and management competencies are recognised among a doctor’s core skills and alongside their clinical skills to ensure that junior doctors are able to fully embrace the Leadership and Management Standards for Medical Professionals.

“We need to focus our efforts to boost the ability of junior doctors to make sustained and meaningful contributions to patient care and their working environment, so that at the same time as becoming competent clinicians, they become effective leaders.”

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