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20 February 2023
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SHSC becomes the first Mental Health Trust to be Endorsed by FMLM

Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust have been on a journey, having identified leadership as an area for improvement at the trust, to now being the first mental health trust to receive FMLM Affiliated status.

Helen Crimlisk, Deputy Medical Director tells us more about the steps that led SHSC where they are today.

As Associate Registrar for Leadership and Management at the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych), I was familiar with the work of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM). The National RCPsych Leadership and Management Fellowship Scheme is a one-year in-training programme for Higher Trainees in psychiatry ( and has recently been accredited by the FMLM.

I have also been involved in supporting leadership development at a national level of Specialist and Specialty Psychiatrists and early and mid-career Consultant Psychiatrists, particularly those working in Transformation and System Leadership. But leadership development needs to be supported at all levels: national, system and organisation and when I was offered the opportunity to work with FMLM locally in Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust (SHSC), I jumped at the opportunity.

Following meetings with colleagues from FMLM, a programme was mapped out to work towards Endorsement with FMLM which SHSC achieved at the beginning of this year. Engagement with all Doctors was essential and work was undertaken with the Directors of Medical Education, the Medical Management Team, the SAS Tutor and the Medical Education & Staffing Team to ensure that they understood the FMLM standards and were supported to encourage them to think about their leadership skills and development needs. Leadership sessions were built in to CPD and training programmes and Medical Director of FMLM, Dr Paul Evans and colleagues visited and ran a session jointly at a Medical Staff Committee attended by over 50 Consultants, SAS Doctors and Trainees.

There was agreement that the FMLM Standards, focussing on Self, Team, Organisation and System, provided a framework which Doctors found easy to understand in the context of a progressive approach to development. With the support of the Responsible Officer, FMLM standards were incorporated into the online appraisal documentation and Appraisers undertook training to ensure that all Consultant and SAS Psychiatrists were able to have a good quality conversation about leadership at appraisal. Work was also undertaken with the Medical Management team and with the support of the Medical Director, job planned time for leadership roles at team, organisation or system level was agreed for all Consultant Psychiatrists.

An important group who often miss out on development in this area were SAS psychiatrists. SHSC already has a successful CESR programme with job planned development time for those SAS Psychiatrists wishing to pursue this route to Specialist Registration. However, some want to remain in SAS roles but would nevertheless like to develop their leadership and management competencies. In conjunction with the SAS Tutor, bespoke sessions were designed and delivered on leadership and management to the SAS group and policy change was made that all medical leadership roles would be routinely offered out to SAS doctors as well as Consultants (unless there was a clear reason for not doing so). During the course of the year, the new contract came out for Specialty and Specialist doctors, and after reviewing the roles SAS Psychiatrists in SHSC were undertaking, seven experienced SAS Psychiatrists were put through a process to promote them to the new Specialist grade and an SAS Advocate was appointed. Since then we have also appointed two further Specialist Psychiatrists through recruitment processes and developed a formal contract for the GPs with extended roles (GPwER) who are employed in some specialist services in SHSC, which is mapped to SAS pay scales.

Having heard about the project, Trainees were keen for SHSC to sign up to the FMLM Trainee Commitment and RCPsych Trainee Leadership Fellow, Dr David Bishop, has blogged about his journey with this: Meeting FMLM’s leadership commitment at Sheffield Health and Social Care | Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management.
There are now a range of Leadership and Education Fellowship opportunities and a range of other opportunities for Trainees to undertake during higher training to ensure they are aware of the organisational and system context in which they will be expected to work as Consultants. Anecdotally, new Consultants often find the non-clinical aspects of their Consultant role more challenging than the clinical ones and introducing Higher Trainees to concepts such as change management, transformation, quality improvement, coproduction, assurance, professional standards and project management at an earlier stage in training has been generally welcomed.

In addition, Psychiatrists were included in a range of other multidisciplinary leadership development opportunities, including an Agile Mindsets approach for those in senior management roles, Medical Directorate development sessions with senior corporate staff supported by the Medical Director, externally-delivered Leadership Development courses through FMLM or NHS Leadership Academy and Restorative Just and Learning courses for new and early career Consultants. Psychiatrists at all levels were also given the opportunity to participate in the SHSC Developing as Leaders offer. This provided an opportunity for Trainees, SAS Psychiatrists, GPwER and Consultant Psychiatrists to both develop their own leadership as well as support the delivery of the programme to help develop others. 

These events have contributed to a change in culture in SHSC, with a focus on leadership at all levels. Regular online Leaders Meetings are chaired by the CEO and are open to all. A weekly half hour on-line Doctors Chat chaired by the Medical and Deputy Medical Director, helps to ensure that safety or other relevant issues are identified and addressed promptly.  Leadership is talked about by many staff at different levels across the organisation and there is a much better understanding of the need to provide a menu of opportunities for development for everyone. Times may be tough across the NHS, but the work we have done on leadership and the affiliation with FMLM has been of great value contributed to a change in culture to enable SHSC to face the uncertainties of the future with a sense of optimism.

Do you have a programme you thinks deserves recognition that it meets national standards for medical/clinical leadership and management?
Read more about FMLM accreditation and submit your own application here.

Alternatively get in touch accreditation [at] 

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