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A Practical Guide to Developing Your Skills as an Effective Clinical Director

What makes an excellent Clinical Director? Qualities, skills, roles and responsibilities

Dr Umesh Prabhu
Medical Advisor, International Recruitment Consultant Paediatrician, Former Medical Director

• the Clinical Directors role
• challenges and learning from the pandemic
• responsibilities: strategic, directorate and individual
• leadership qualities required for the role
• accountability of Clinical Directors
• supporting Clinical Directors under pressure through Covid-19
• the Clinical Directors role in driving improvement: learning from our experience
• where next for current Clinical Director

Dr Umesh Prabhu started his presentation by reminding everyone that Doctors are human begins.

He also opened discussion how medial errors are becoming a common harm to patients and when doctors make mistakes it is the patient who suffers, “we must learn from these errors”. There must be a learning culture and not a blame culture.

Dr Prabhu highlighted that one day we will all be patients and that happy staff = happy patients. Umesh learnt through reading that “Leadership is being kind and compassionate towards staff”. When discussing the clinical director role Umesh said “No leader works in isolation”


Developing your skills as a Clinical Director

Dr Hamish McLure
Chair of the Clinical Directors Executive
Clinical Directors Network of the Royal College of
Anaesthetists, Consultant Anaesthetist &
Medical Director (Professional Standards and Workforce Development)
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

• the everyday life of a Clinical Director
• understanding and managing directorate performance
• what are the difficult issues you will face as a Clinical Director: difficult conversations and managing colleagues
• setting goals as a Clinical Director

Hamish McLure's Biography 0.31 MBDOCXfile

Hamish McLure opened his talk by running through all of the clinical management roles which he had held. He discussed how as a clinical director you need to know a lot of things including;

  • National bodies such as CQC
  • Rotas
  • Timetable
  • Job plans
  • Contacts
  • Infection prevention and control policy
  • Interpret local date

You feel you need to know all of this from day 1!

One of the elements of the role is being able to empower people but also ensure that you feel you can ask for advice.

There is a conflict within the role between the trust and the department with both believing that you represent them both and you need to “get used to riding two horses”.

Hamish discussed how to manage different conversations and highlighted how important preparation is when planning these. To help with preparation Hamish gave these tips;

  • Get the facts
  • Don’t delay
  • Right time
  • Right person
  • Right place

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