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25 June 2021
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Enormous contributions - so what next?

That was the question Peter Lees, FMLM Chief Executive, put to the 15 clinical fellows graduating from the FMLM-managed Advanced Clinical Fellow Leadership Development Programme last week.

The aim of the programme was to support clinical fellows stepping into alumni or extended fellowship roles by drawing out innate leadership skills and refining leadership competence to maximise their effectiveness as clinical leaders. Some of the cohort had completed an extended fellowship throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, while others had gone on to alumni fellowship roles within national and regional healthcare organisations across the country.

Clinical fellows from the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s, Chief Dental Officer’s and National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow Scheme presented their personal and professional stories, the impact of the pandemic and their key learning from the advanced programme.

The online event was chaired by Simon Bird, the programme’s expert facilitator and coach, and attended by host organisations, including NICE, NHS England and Improvement, the General Pharmaceutical Council, and the CQC.

Richard Cattell, Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, NHS England and Improvement, and Claire Bryce-Smith, Director of Insight, Intelligence and Inspection, the General Pharmaceutical Council, joined Peter Lees on an interview panel, designed to tease out more detail of each clinical fellow’s leadership learning journey following the advanced programme.

Tackling imposter syndrome was an aspect of the leadership learning journey that many of the clinical fellows reflected on, to which Peter Lees responded:

“Having a touch of imposter syndrome from time to time is helpful and healthy. I worry about those who never experience it.”

Andrew Mikhail, a pharmacist who has been based at the General Pharmaceutical Council, talked of his biggest revelation regarding his own leadership skills during the year as understanding the need for a vision and linking that to objectives and overall direction, as well as ensuring everyone was involved in setting that direction.

The trait Andrew has admired in the healthcare leaders he worked with throughout the year has been the inseparable mix of authenticity and honesty; to be able to state when they do not have all the answers and be open to the need to learn before moving forward.

Sophia Morris, a dentist and senior clinical fellow at Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership reflected on the difference between having a passion to address health inequalities and being expected to lead the change to deliver it.

In responding to how she would pass on the insights she had gained on her advanced leadership development journey, Sophia explained the importance of sharing knowledge and mentoring others, and how she had become an anchor for a network based on good relationships:

“Now, when I reach out across the network they respond very quickly, and I do the same for them.”

The pandemic has cast a defining light on the efforts of healthcare staff to deliver care and maintain their own wellbeing. A featured question to many of the clinical fellows was how, especially during the worst of times, do you fill, empty and refill the emotional tank?

Dr Amy Dehn-Lunn, a doctor who has been based with the primary care team at NHS England and Improvement, talked of the difficulty of separating the personal from the professional throughout the pandemic. But seeing the inter-connectiveness of the situation on both a global as well as micro level had strengthened relationships and conversations, which supported resilience. She said:

“You can’t look after other people if you are not looking after yourself.”

Dr Dehn-Lunn pointed to the trust placed in her as having made it possible to achieve and have the necessary faith and confidence in herself.

Peter Lees concluded the event and congratulated all the clinical fellows:

“Healthcare is so incredibly lucky to have your talents. I hope you all feel pride in the enormous contribution you have made at this crucial time for healthcare – the NHS has needed it.

“Now is the time to think about ‘what next’, to think about the future of healthcare and contemplate your role within it. I urge you to get involved in shaping that future as few of your peers will have the ability and leadership insight you now have.”

FMLM congratulates all clinical fellows completing the Advanced Clinical Fellow Leadership Development Programme 2020/21:

  • Aamir Shaikh
  • Amita Aggarwal
  • Dr Amy Dehn-Lunn
  • Andrew Mikhail Anisha Soni
  • Garry Davenport
  • Gemma Wareing
  • Natasha Callender
  • Paul Wright
  • Peter Scolding
  • Roshni Maisuria
  • Ryan Grocock
  • Saga Shah
  • Sarah Cahill
  • Silvia Ceci
  • Sophia Morris

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