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Effective Clinical Director: News and Updates

Professor Steve Powis Medical Director Royal Free Hampstead NHS Foundation Trust opened the day with an update on 'What makes an excellent Clinical Director?' In is presentation Professor Powis discussed:

• the Clinical Directors role 

• responsibilities: strategic, directorate and individual

• leadership qualities required for the role 

• accountability of Clinical Directors 

• tips for aspiring Clinical Directors 

• where next for current Clinical Directors? 

Professor Steve Powis comments: "What Makes an excellent Clinical Director?  Qualities, skills, roles and responsibilities

Importance of strategic role – understanding strengths and weaknesses of your service.  Understanding components of your speciality e.g. what is good, what isn’t, what is probitable, what isn’t, planning human and capital investment.   Understanding co dependencies. Understanding external environment.

Daunting amount to do ‘part time’ as many Clinical Directors do."

Skills and knowledge

"Leadership skills – inspiring and empowering others (putting an umbrella over your colleagues to protect them so they can do their jobs properly and not be distracted).  What is your style, when to delegate, team building, resilience and succession planning, example setting, changing culture, gaining followers.

Management, acquiring tools for the job

Values – set of values to be respected as a clinical director"

Profesor Powis' Biography:

Stephen Powis is Professor of Renal Medicine at University College London. He has been Medical Director of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust since 2006.

Professor Powis entered pre-clinical Medicine at Glasgow University in 1977, where he also obtained a First Class Honours BSc in Immunology. He completed his clinical training at St. John's College, Oxford, graduating in 1985. He became a Medical Research Council Clinician Scientist Fellow in 1990, and subsequently obtained his PhD whilst working in the Human Immunogenetics Laboratory of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. He was appointed Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Renal Medicine at Guy's Hospital in 1995, before moving to the Royal Free in 1997. He was awarded an MBA with merit from the University of Warwick in 2014.

Professor Powis’s main clinical interest is renal transplantation. Research interests have included the genetics and biology of the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC or HLA region), experimental pancreatic islet cell transplantation, inflammation and dyslipidaemia in renal disease, and studies on the genetic basis of polygenic renal disorders.

Professor Powis is currently a member of the governing body of Merton Clinical Commissioning Group and a Director of Healthcare Services Laboratories LLP. He is the immediate past Chairman of the Association of UK Universities (AUKUH) Medical Directors Group and has been a member of numerous national committees and working groups, including the Department of Health Strategic Education Funding Expert Group. He is a past non-executive director of the North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, including a period of eight months as acting chairman. He is a past chairman of the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board (JRCPTB) Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC) for Renal Medicine and a former board member of Medical Education England. He was Director of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education for UCLPartners from 2010-13. He is a past treasurer and trustee of the British Transplantation Society and a former member of the UK Transplant Kidney Pancreas Advisory Group. He has also served as a member of the Renal Association Executive Committee. He was Editor of the journal Nephron Clinical Practice from 2003 to 2008. He is a trustee of four charities, including the Royal Free Charity and the Healthcare Management Trust.

Dr Paul Stevens Medical Director & Consultant Nephrologist East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust continued the morning with a presentation on 'Tips and advice for aspiring Clinical Directors'. In his presentation Dr Stevens discussed:

• advice for aspiring clinical directors 

• how to prepare for the role including interview planning 

• the life of a Clinical Director: the highs and the lows 

• understanding and managing directorate performance 

• tips for aspiring Clinical Directors

Dr Stevens comments:

"Tips and Advice for aspiring clinical directors

The single oversight framework is designed to help NHS providers attain, and maintain, Care Quality Commission ratings of Good or Outstanding.

Funding – understanding of how money comes in and moves around the organization is key.

Implementation plan -   There are many techniques but a reasoned argument is the best approach.

Interview for Clinical Director – why do you want the job?  Biggest challenges.  Weaknesses, strengths.  Why should we appoint you?  What do you need from us to do the job?  Any questions you want to ask?  You’re a busy clinician with other external interests, how ae you going to fit this job in?

Life of a clinical director – you will be challenged, you will need to provide leadership, job planning and appraisal,

Highs – finding out what you don’t know, people, change, developing talent, supporting and driving innovation, teamwork TEAM (together everyone achieves more)

Lows – TEAM (together everyone annoys me).  Prevaricators who hold up progress.

A well governed directorate – caring, effective, responsive, safe, effective, well led."

Mike Chitty Head of Applied Leadership NHS Leadership Academy  gave an extended session on 'Developing and fine tuning your clinical leadership skills'.  He discussed:

• self assessment of your leadership skills 

• leading culture change and empowering others 

• leading the directorate: tips for success 

• developing the leadership skills to move to a board level Medical Director position

Mike comments:

"Great working relationships – can only really have about 8 of these as they do need work/input, take time.  So pick them carefully and invest.

What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?

Giving and getting great feedback.

Difficult people – hard to give feedback to people who are deluded!  Use feedback to build relationship not destroy it.  Need to go from Labels to Behaviours."

Future conferences of interest:

Developing the Role of the Physician Associate
Friday 9 December 2016 
Hallam Conference Centre


Hospital Mortality Annual Summit: Mortality Monitoring & Reducing Avoidable Deaths attributable to problems in care - where are we now?
Wednesday 22 February 2017 
The Studio Conference Centre


Effective Clinical Director Training Course
Friday 3 March 2017 
De Vere West One Conference Centre


Clinical Audit Summit 2017: Clinical Audit for Improvement
Monday 6 March 2017 
De Vere West One Conference Centre


UK Physician Health Summit 2017
Wednesday 29 March 2017 
Hallam Conference Centre


Caldicott Guardians: National Annual Conference
Monday 15 May 2017 
De Vere West One Conference Centre


7 November 2016


    Partner Organisations

    The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation TrustInPracticeClinical Audit Support CentrePlayoutJust For Nurses
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