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29 April 2013
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Spotlight on...Brigadier Robin Cordell

Describe your role in one sentence (Not job title but raison detre).

I am responsible for the initiation, development and implementation of strategy and policy for the Defence Medical Services (DMS) on behalf of the Surgeon General.

What are your main challenges and how do you overcome them

In common with most of us, resources are probably the main challenge - in my case having sufficient people and time to do all we need to do.

There is also a cultural dimension and this is the more significant challenge.  From recruitment onwards, the Armed Forces put considerable effort into building people's identity as a member of the Royal Navy, Army or the RAF; different ways of working have evolved to suit each of the Services, and the challenge is to bring in new ways that are best suited to meet the needs of healthcare delivery, which is almost always provided jointly from all three Services.  This has been achieved highly successfully on support to military operations, especially in Afghanistan, and now in the delivery of healthcare back here in the UK.  Hospital care is delivered by the NHS in the UK (where our hospital doctors and nurses now work when not on operations) and in the permanent base locations overseas, again on a joint basis.  The current challenge has been to take forward this success in the primary healthcare arena; respecting the traditions of the individual Services has been important, but the key will be to create a unifying culture in the same way that this has been successfully brought about on deployed operations.

How does FMLM fit in?

A good deal of work has been undertaken between colleagues in the Armed Forces and the Institute of Healthcare Managers (particularly our medical support officers, who are "mainstream" officers in the Armed Forces who fill many of the management roles in the DMS), but there is a real need to develop the leadership competences of doctors.  Much as is described by the NHS Leadership Academy, this is at the new entry medical officer level, as practising clinicians, and for those in managerial or specialist roles that require significant engagement with the executive leadership in the MOD and the Armed Forces.


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