Intended for healthcare professionals


Royal College launches “chief registrar” role

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 05 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2563
  1. Thomas Cassidy,
  2. Clegg scholar
  1. Student BMJ
  1. tmoberly{at}

A role of “chief registrar” has been developed by the Royal College of Physicians to improve junior doctors’ clinical leadership skills.

The role was designed to allow junior doctors who are nearing consultancy to gain management experience while working less than full time in their normal clinical roles.

The college is piloting the role at a number of sites over the next 18 months and it will commission an independent evaluation of the impact of the scheme. On the basis of the evaluation, it will make recommendations on whether to extend the scheme to more trusts.

Tahir Akbar is a registrar who has taken on the new role at Hampshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. He said that the position had been created to encourage registrars to become leaders and to bridge the gap between junior doctors and senior management.

Akbar said that, so far, the job had largely involved listening to his colleagues, taking concerns to senior management, and finding ways to address those concerns. “I’ve done it for three months now, it’s hard to see results today,” he said. “But maybe in a year’s time things will be better.”

Frank Joseph, the future hospital officer at the Royal College of Physicians, is overseeing the rollout of the new role. He said that a key barrier to junior doctors taking on leadership positions was the lack of time outside their clinical workloads. “The role will hopefully allow people enough space to take their head out of the day to day, to be able to think from a slightly higher, bird’s eye view about what’s going on,” he said.

Joseph said that there had been a tendency for registrars to focus on clinical medicine and to postpone leadership roles until later in their careers. “Unfortunately, you can’t do it in stages,” he said. “You have to do both [in] parallel. The aim [of the chief registrar role] is to expose registrars to leadership roles early, so that they see themselves as the leaders of the future and become consultants prepared with the tools they need to become medical directors or chief executives.”