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7 August 2020
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Covid-19: a catalyst for the future doctor?

By Dr Paul Evans

FMLM Medical Director

In September last year, FMLM responded to the call for evidence on the role of the doctor in future. We outlined, then, the need for “expert, incisive and collaborative leadership and management at every level of the healthcare profession. Leadership, leadership development and the professional standards to which clinical leaders should aspire and then be assessed, need to be at the top of the future doctor’s agenda.”

We are pleased to see this feedback has been adopted and features prominently in The Future Doctor Programme Report, recently published by NHS Health Education England (HEE).

The need to transform medical education and training to achieve the vision of England’s people plan has attained greater importance since the onslaught of Covid-19, which has also emphasised the divergence between specialist and generalist clinical skills in dealing with a pathogen inducing a new level of co-morbidities. So, from here on, the future doctor’s skill set now needs to be as broad as it is deep, with team working and flexible leadership identified as imperatives for patient-centred care.

The report acknowledges the need to clearly define good leadership and followership and what it means for each member of the multi-professional team across the NHS. It sets out the collective view of the unique characteristics of the future doctor and ascribes the demonstration of respect and understanding for other multi-professional team members, along with the ability to lead, follow and be an effective team player, to the leader. So, being a leader is fundamentally about supporting others to lead.

FMLM’s work is focused on encouraging the adoption of standards in medical leadership and management for better patient-centred care and we welcome the report’s clear reference to the Leadership and Management standards for Medical Professionals as an intrinsic response to the question: “What will make future doctors good leaders?”

We welcome The Future Doctor Programme Report and commend its findings, including the point made on leadership training, that “…ensuring leadership development is given parity with achieving clinical and academic competencies is critical.”


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