Authenticated user menu

9 September 2021
Total views

Junior doctors need greater commitment from providers to support their leadership development

Hannah Baird

By Dr Hannah Baird

Chair of FMLM Trainee Steering Group and National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow 2020/21

Junior doctors are not only the future leaders of the NHS, they are also an untapped resource of enthusiasm and ingenuity to lead change and improvement from their current roles. FMLM’s Trainee Steering Group (TSG) feels strongly that junior doctors need wider as well as more focused support in their leadership development at all levels and in all roles. In short, they need a leadership commitment.

Many surveys and research studies have shown that junior doctors – even those with significant clinical experience – often struggle to access leadership development opportunities. A survey conducted by FMLM members and attendees at the Leaders in Healthcare conference in 2019 support this finding.

We know, however, that while many employers and organisations are keen to engage junior doctors in leadership development, they are often unsure how to access and support junior doctors in this. 

A listening exercise conducted with senior trust and healthcare leaders was conducted to understand how they would wish to engage and support junior doctors in their leadership development.

In response, the FMLM TSG has devised the Leadership Commitment for junior doctors, where we call on all organisations within the NHS to sign up and commit to implementing the range of actions and initiatives described by junior doctors as essential to their development as well as to the efficacy and productivity of the NHS as a whole.

We believe, by supporting the Leadership Commitment, NHS trusts and provider bodies can encourage, support and monitor junior doctors’ leadership development more effectively.

The Leadership Commitment, developed for both primary and secondary care organisations, is arranged according to ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ criteria and presented in five sections:

-        Opportunities - to access and engage with leadership in the workplace

-        Time - to develop leadership skills and undertake leadership activities

-        Feedback - to support self-awareness and development of leadership skills

-        Recognition - to value and celebrate the role junior doctors have as leaders themselves

-        Role Modelling - to be visible and lead by example.

There is also an appendix of potential practical options and opportunities that could be offered by providers.

We would encourage junior doctors to take this commitment to senior leaders in their organisations and invite them to sign up and work in collaboration to see how the options and opportunities could be applied for the benefit of all, including patients.

The TSG would be pleased to provide support with these collaborative conversations. Contact us at tsg [at]

We will shortly be publishing a ‘how to implement guide’ that will sit alongside the Commitment document and appendix.

We are grateful to several trust who have agreed to pilot this initiative and look forward to publishing our case studies over the coming year, where we will share some of the best examples of the Commitment in action.

 or  Register to add a comment

Array ( [0] => sitewide [1] => advert_external_leaderboard [2] => not_front_desktop [3] => advert_external_wideskyscraper [4] => comments [5] => comments_login_prompt [6] => jobs_content_pages [7] => node-social-accelerators [8] => node_editorial [9] => related_content [10] => advert_internal_desktop )