Letters Embracing leadership roles

Management skills need to be recognised

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c3140 (Published 16 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3140
  1. Julia Cumberlege, peer1
  1. 1House of Lords, London SW1A OAA
  1. cumberlegej{at}parliament.uk

    The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) Future physician report,1 2 a continuation of its seminal work on medical professionalism,3 emphasises again the crucial part doctors play in leadership. As chairman of the working parties that produced these reports,1 3 I strongly endorse their messages and believe in their fundamental importance for the preservation and development of excellent health care. But this belief is tempered with concern.

    To date, too few doctors are installed in leadership and management positions beyond those of clinical director. The RCP and King’s Fund review of a series of medical professionalism road shows provided insight into doctors’ views on this matter.4 Part of the problem may stem from a lack of recognition that the skills of leadership and management need to be valued in the same way as other specialist training. All the royal colleges and faculties need to ensure that their members understand the contribution of clinicians to leadership and management and they need to equip doctors with the right skills to lead and manage. As the road show report emphasises,4 doctors must value leadership within the profession and ask what symbols of recognition can be accorded to colleagues who go in this direction to ensure that the experience and expertise of doctors is fully integrated into the running of a well managed service.

    The foreword of Future Physician ends with the hope that the report will encourage doctors to be at the forefront of change and of shaping the future of health care.1 It also states that if doctors do not accept the challenges ahead, they do not deserve to lead.


    Cite this as: BMJ 2010;230:c3140


    • Competing interests: None declared.


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