What were the key findings?
- Perceptions of leadership vary, with some describing it as an intrinsic quality and others a learned skill.
- Some participants had ‘explicit’ leadership roles with their employer or a different organisation. Whereas, for others, leadership was ‘embedded’ and part of their day-to-day clinical role.
- For many senior doctors the progression into a leadership role was often haphazard and unplanned.
- Doctors’ ability to take on additional leadership responsibilities was often impacted by changes to their clinical work and increased workloads. In some cases, this had a negative impact on their wellbeing.
- Employers can better aid the development of senior doctors by providing additional support, so they can concentrate on non-patient facing work. In secondary care, the research found that when leadership activities were included in a doctor’s job plan, the time allocated wasn’t enough.
- Participants described the intrinsic rewards that additional roles provided. They noted how multiple roles gave them freedom and balance and would often leave them feeling more refreshed to take on their core clinical work.
Why did we commission this research?
We wanted to find out more about the day-to-day experiences of doctors in leadership roles, such as consultants and GPs. So, we commissioned research to explore this.
It focused on:
- the roles and activities undertaken by senior doctors
- changes to these roles and their opinions on why they’ve changed.
What did the research involve?
Telephone interviews were carried out with 22 consultants (10 male, 12 female) and 10 GPs (four male, six female) from across all four countries of the UK. They took place in 2019.
Consultants represented a range of clinical specialties. Participants had been in a consultant or GP posts for periods ranging between one and 30 years.