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25 September 2023
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Three big reasons to celebrate 12 years of the FMLM Clinical Fellow Schemes

Angus Waite FMLM Head of Professional Services and Innovation

In the realm of healthcare, innovation and leadership are paramount for ensuring the best possible patient care. For over a decade now, the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) Clinical Fellow Schemes have been paving the way for a new generation of healthcare leaders. As we commemorate twelve years of these transformative schemes, it's a moment to reflect on the impact it has had on the clinical community and our healthcare system as a whole.

The professional services team, who lead on membership among other areas, are just far-enough removed to appreciate from a small distance the incredible influence that these schemes have had not just on the clinical fellows themselves, but also on FMLM - the way we work, the clinicians we attract as members and the ceiling of our ambition to improve patient care through improving healthcare leadership.

The FMLM Clinical Fellow Schemes were established with a clear vision: to identify and nurture developing leaders in healthcare, equipping them with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the complexities of a modern system. Over the years, the portfolio of schemes have not only met but exceeded expectations, producing a cadre of exceptional clinicians who are also outstanding leaders. Importantly, they have expanded beyond the medical sphere, with established schemes in pharmacy and dentistry, as well as a number of emerging schemes in senior nursing, healthcare science, and sustainability/net zero delivery with a multidisciplinary focus.

The National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow Scheme is a fantastic and unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a non-clinical role within a host organisation experiencing new ways of working and new insights into healthcare, leadership and policy."

"Clinical Fellow Schemes allow you to gain unique insights and collaborate with like-minded individuals to make positive change for patients and the wider healthcare system. The experience has really helped to shape my career direction and given me the requisite skills needed to do this."

Dr Georgina Neve, GP ST4, NHSE 2021/22

One of the key strengths of the FMLM Clinical Fellow Schemes is the diversity of candidates it attracts. With many column inches written over the years about the lack of diversity at the top of healthcare leadership, the clinical fellow schemes offer hope for a truly representative future generation of leaders. Across gender, nationality and race as well as those who enter a clinical career not as a first career but as a second or even a third. As we emphasise in the FMLM standards, maintaining a diverse array of talents within any team is not just something we should do as decent people. There is a wealth of evidence showing the link between better patient outcomes and working environments where a diversity of opinion and perspective is encouraged and embedded. 

The year as a clinical fellow provides participants with a unique blend of hands-on experience and structured learning. Clinical fellows are exposed to real-world challenges, from managing their immediate teams, both ‘upwards’, ‘across’ and ‘down’, to implementing national quality improvement initiatives. Simultaneously, they engage in a structured curriculum delivered by the Faculty designed to enhance their leadership and management skills. This holistic approach ensures that the fellows are not just academically and technically proficient but also well-equipped with many of the inter-personal and practical skills necessary to address the complex challenges of the healthcare sector.

As we commence the 13th year of the FMLM Clinical Fellow Schemes, we applaud the countless success stories of clinicians who have emerged from these schemes as confident, capable, and compassionate leaders. They are not only shaping the future of healthcare but also embodying the essence of the healthcare professions – the commitment to the well-being of patients.

While the impact of the FMLM Clinical Fellow Schemes goes beyond individual careers, it is gratifying to see so many alumni increasingly pop-up in influential and impactful positions across the NHS and broader healthcare system. We know and expect that they will be championing patient-centered care, fostering collaboration among healthcare teams and systems, and advocating for continuous improvement.

In a world where healthcare faces unprecedented challenges, the FMLM Clinical Fellow Schemes stand as a beacon of hope and progress. Here's to twelve years of nurturing leaders who are transforming healthcare, one step at a time. The journey has been remarkable, and the future promises even greater achievements in the service of our healthcare and our wellbeing.

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