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Faculty of Education carries out independent review of the Clinical Leadership Programme

healthcare professionals

The University of Cambridge's Faculty of Education has carried out an independent review of the Cambridge Chief Residents Leadership and Management Programme, offered by Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) and Cambridge University Health Partners.

The Clinical Leadership Programme addresses the growing need for leaders within the healthcare system, equipping them with the mindset and skills necessary to lead change in the context of increasing demands, financial pressures, and complexities of the NHS.

When looking at individual impact the review found:

  • 97 per cent would recommend it to others and 82 per cent say they could not have learned otherwise what they learned on the programme.
  • 73 per cent of the participants say the programme changed the way they view their work on the NHS, and 86 per cent say the programme empowered them to change things in their organisations.
It is widely recognised that frontline clinicians need to accept the role of leaders within their health systems. International evidence suggests that clinical leadership can improve patient outcomes and experience.
Review authors Dr Riikka Hoffman & Professor Jan Vermunt

The review also looked at short- and long-term organisational impact.

Short-term organisational impact

  • Participants reported increased contribution to their organisational practice as 'Chief Residents', improving communications and collaboration between trainees and seniors.
  • The individual service improvement projects which formed part of the programme were shown to produce important benefits for patients, education and training, finances and are considered to demonstrate a clear return on investment.

Organisational impact: longer-term

  • A significant outcome of the programme is an increased understanding of stakeholders' perspectives across the NHS.
  • Over half of past participants regularly contact other past Chief Residents in other departments to discuss work, and 65 per cent now feel on the same side with non-clinical managers in their organisations.
  • Vertical and lateral capacity building is another significant organisational outcome: participants report that due to the programme they have increased their support for colleagues/trainees to undertake service improvement, with 80 per cent having supported at least one colleague since the programme.
I am pleased that the Chief Residents Programme is being recognised for its impact and importance. The programme has been designed to be directly relevant to the pressures and challenges faced by clinicians and our aim is to open up the experience of clinical leadership to the next generation of leaders.
Professor Stefan Scholtes, Director of the Centre for Health Leadership & Enterprise at CJBS

Jag Ahluwalia, co-founder of the programme, adds:

"I am delighted to note the very positive findings from this evaluation, which supports and triangulates with the excellent feedback the programme has received since 2010. The practical and applied impact the programme is having on delegates both in the short term but also years after participation was a key objective for the programme. I would also like to acknowledge with gratitude the enduring support and encouragement the programme has received from HEE."

The 10-month programme comprises 10 teaching days, an integrated individual service improvement project, and support for the role of a Chief Resident in the participants' department. The programme, initiated in 2010 at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Addenbrooke's), now annually targets 60 early career doctors from Cambridgeshire and the East of England as well as a number of established general practitioners, and is sponsored by the NHS through its local education and training board, Health Education East of England and local CCGs. The programme evaluation was carried out in 2016/17 and included all of seven cohorts to have completed the programme since 2010, a total of 293 participants.

Arun Gupta, Director of Education at Cambridge University Health Partners and co-founder of the programme, adds:

"The Chief Residents Programme was borne from the need to equip the next generation of clinical leaders with skills which will enable them to tackle the huge challenges facing the NHS. The findings of this evaluation supports our view that we are moving towards achieving our objective. The support from Health Education East of England has been a crucial factor in making this programme a success."

Get in touch

To contact us about our healthcare leadership programmes, please get in touch with Isabelle Geisthardt.

Read the report

The report Professional Development in Clinical Leadership: Evaluation of the Chief Residents Clinical Leadership and Management Programme was authored by Dr Riikka Hofmann & Professor Jan D. Vermunt at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge.

Access the Professional Development in Clinical Leadership report