Leadership Development for Doctors in Postgraduate Training

The leadership of systems of care is increasingly recognised as a core clinical activity for all healthcare professionals. Doctors in particular, because of their power and influence and the resources they control, must learn to lead. Consequently, the General Medical Council now expects that all postgraduate medical training programmes should equip trainees with leadership capabilities.

The NHS Leadership Academy has been working closely with colleagues in Health Education England’s regional teams to ensure a more consistent and more accessible development offer is available to doctors in training. Speak to your supervisor, training programme director, director of medical education or head of school for more information. You can access a number of free resources below. The NHS Leadership Academy also works in close partnership with the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management and more opportunities for doctors in training can be found on the FMLM website including details of the National Medical Directors Clinical Fellowship Scheme.

For doctors in training

The NHS Leadership Academy’s national leadership development programmes are designed for everyone working in the NHS and can be accessed at any point in their career. We have highlighted below the programmes and resources that would be most relevant for medical students and doctors in training.

Each of these leadership development programmes and resources support the General Medical Council’s Generic Professional Capabilities, particularly Domain 5 – leadership and team working but also Domain 6 – patient safety and quality improvement. As such, trainees may be able to claim a proportion of their programme fees from study leave budgets.

We also recommend that doctors in training ask their supervisor about opportunities that may be available locally in your Trust or through your local Health Education England team. Medical students are encouraged to talk to the relevant members of their university faculty.


Programme NameWho’s it for  Overview

Edward Jenner Suitable for medical students and doctors in Foundation training.   An online introduction to essential leadership skills, designed for everyone working in a health and care context and suitable for medical students and doctors in foundation training Highly practical and patient-focused, it’s a great way to understand the purpose, challenges and culture of the NHS and to develop a fresh perspective on the patient experience.

Mary Seacole Suitable for doctors in Foundation (FY1-2) or core (CT/ST1-3) training.   A popular team leadership programme suitable for doctors in core training and early specialty training. It balances theory with practice and gives participants a better understanding of what leadership really means. Designed for those in their first formal leadership role, it empowers people to turn their success into consistent team success and to champion compassionate patient care.

Rosalind Franklin Suitable for doctors in core (CT1-2) and early years of specialty training (ST1-3).   A blended, action learning programme suitable for doctors in foundation and core training. The programme aims to help shape leaders’ knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours to help them become outstanding, compassionate and inclusive leaders, working at all levels across the health and care system.

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Suitable for doctors practicing at ST4+, newly qualified consultants and post-CCT GPs.   This programme is suitable for higher specialty trainees and newly qualified GPs and consultants who are aspiring to take on a more senior role. It aims to develop resilience in leadership and give participants the confidence to drive real and lasting change to improve the patient experience. This programme is delivered in association with world-class experts and leads to an MSc in Healthcare Leadership.

Our bursary scheme supports talented individuals from under-represented groups who, without help, would miss out on the opportunity to access our leadership development programmes. For information on eligibility, and whether a bursary is available for your chosen programme, please check the ‘Key Information’ section on the specific programme page.


The Healthcare Leadership Model

The Healthcare Leadership Model offers a number of resources to help individuals discover and explore their leadership behaviours including a 360-feedback diagnostic plus coaching session, and a free self-assessment tool.

Coaching and Mentoring

Coaching is one of the key approaches through which leadership in organisations can be developed. It’s a method of deploying techniques embedded in artful questioning and appreciative inquiry to help leaders unlock their full potential to achieve personal and professional success. Mentoring is led a more experienced and skilled professional mentors and helps support and expand the professional leadership development of the mentee through the effective transference of knowledge, skill and experience.


Download – Developing medical leadership – A toolkit for doctors in postgraduate training.

Blogs and videos

In this blog David Cox and Tahreema Matin, National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellows from HEE, discuss the ‘Developing medical leadership’ toolkit and how it might help doctors in training and their supervisors and mentors.

In her blog junior doctor Rebecca Crosby discusses why leadership is so crucial in critical situations.

In his blog Tim Swanwick, Dean of Education and Leadership Development at the NHS Leadership Academy, explains why leadership and management ought to be core to the education and training of all doctors.  

In this video Professor Michael West discusses the importance and role of compassionate leadership in today’s NHS.

For general enquiries relating to clinical leadership development, please email – [email protected]

For Supervisors

The NHS Leadership Academy and colleagues in the regional teams in Health Education England have developed a simple framework to help supervisors to uncover leadership in themselves and support the development of those for whom whose leadership development they are responsible. 

You can find this framework in the Leadership Conversations: Supporting developmental conversations in postgraduate medical training resource pack.

We have also developed a series of four short illustrative videos have been commissioned to accompany this resource pack which explore

The resource pack and videos have been primarily designed to be used by postgraduate medical education supervisors as they integrate leadership learning into their conversations with trainees but can also be used independently by trainees.

A half day face to face workshop accompanies this pack and aims to prepare supervisors to integrate leadership learning into their regular conversations with junior doctors by offering practice and guidance on managing conversations for leadership learning and familiarising supervisors with the resource pack.

Download the slides and training notes.

For further information about the workshops, please contact the leadership lead based in your local HEE team.

Quote / Testimonial:

“I am different from before. I am prouder of my core values and beliefs regarding leadership, teams and change. I am prouder of me, because this programme has given me the confidence that great things can be achieved through collaborative leadership and that through team empowerment you can achieve results beyond your expectations.”

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Programme alumni
Quote / Testimonial:

“I was confident of being a good doctor but the training program helped me achieve other essential skills required to be a good consultant. The skills I have gained include management skills, communication skills and organisational skills.”

Mary Seacole Programme alumni