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National Medical Director's Clinical Fellow Scheme

National Medical Director's Clinical Fellow Scheme


What it is

Sponsored by the National Medical Director of NHS England and managed by FMLM, the scheme is designed to identify and support doctors in training who present with the clearest potential to develop as clinical leaders of the future.

A message from Professor Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director, NHSE

Established in 2011, the scheme provides doctors in training with a unique opportunity to spend 12 months in healthcare-affiliated organisations outside of clinical practice to develop their skills in leadership, management, strategy, project management and health policy. 

Who it's for

This scheme is for doctors in training from all specialties who have completed both years of foundation training by the start of the fellowship, commencing 1 September, each year. Candidates are eligible to apply providing they have full GMC registration and will not gain CCT before 1 September of the year they are applying (General Practice ST3 trainees with CCT before or around 1 September of the year they are applying are eligible to apply but will need to defer CCT).

Applications are also welcome from public health specialty trainees who meet the eligibility criteria.

For comprehensive details on eligibility, please read the Information Pack. For information on clinical fellow schemes for other professions, please visit this page of our website.

What it offers

Clinical fellows have the opportunity to work with senior leaders to develop their leadership skills and experience in a diverse range of organisations. The participating organisations have the opportunity to be part of a prestigious scheme to develop a growing community of future clinical leaders who will go on to shape healthcare in this country.

"The scheme provided the opportunity to understand how decisions are made from a national policy perspective and to take system wide strategies into practice. The networks, collaboration, connections and experiences during my fellowship year have been invaluable."

Dr Jack Haywood, Public Health Medicine ST2, Health Education England 2022/23

How it works

Candidates may submit an application for a place on the scheme during the recruitment phase each year. Shortlisted candidates are interviewed and successful applicants are seconded from their current NHSE organisation to take up a fellowship role for 12 months, starting 1 September, as an out‐of‐programme experience (OOPE, or equivalent).

Clinical fellows work in an apprenticeship model to the most senior leaders in NHSE and national healthcare-related organisations. The scheme offers an unparalleled experience and opportunity to develop a range of skills while involved in key projects that contribute to national healthcare priorities.

FMLM is honoured to work with the following partners who provide outstanding opportunities for clinical fellows:

What do clinical fellows say?

“From the Ward to Westminster, what an incredible year…Beyond my wildest imagination - working at the forefront of national policy making, learning from the country's most senior doctors and healthcare professionals, and having a great time too." 

Dr Sunil Bhopal, Paediatrics, UK Health Security Agency 2022/23

“This scheme has changed me personally and professionally. I have gained a completely new perspective on health and social care systems and the role of national healthcare organisations."

Dr Natalie Vanderpant, Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus, Care Quality Commission 2022/23

"Working at a national level has offered me insights into clinical leadership in a way that I will practically apply throughout my entire career. I have made lifelong connections with so many interesting advocates and networks. An excellent and fulfilling experience”.

Miss Kavita Aggarwal, Ophthalmology, NHS England 2022/23

Webinar - Hear from clinical fellow alumni about why you should apply to the scheme:

Podcast - Listen to National Medical Director's Clinical Fellow Alumni Dr Sam Bartlett-Pestell (2019/20) about his fellowship experience with HQIP, why he applied, what he wanted to gain from the year and the projects he was involved in. Listen to the podcast here


Applications are now closed for 2024/25 recruitment. Please register your interest here to be notified of the 2025/26 scheme.

Please note that the terms and conditions of the scheme, including eligibility, may be subject to change.

Meet the 2023/24 cohort

Find out who they are and what drives them to help create a better health service.


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