Opinion Former Article

MDU and HLA team up to support doctors with leadership skills

With the recent revelation that 90% of NHS trusts in England have a gender pay gap, the Medical Defence Union (MDU), the UK’s leading indemnifier of doctors, has teamed up with the Healthcare Leadership Academy (HLA), to ensure its members benefit equally from expert leadership training.

Founded in 2016 by Dr Johann Malawana, former chair of the BMA's junior doctors committee, the HLA aims to promote leadership in healthcare by helping young clinicians with leadership skills. Its previous two cohorts of scholars have achieved an equal split with a 50:50 ratio of male to female doctors, with both applying and successfully competing to gain a place on the programme.

The reciprocal arrangement will see the MDU's head of advisory, Dr Caroline Fryar, join the HLA's faculty to provide HLA scholars with her expertise on medico-legal issues, while MDU members will benefit from Johann Malawana's valuable insight into leadership in healthcare. The MDU is also running its own course on leadership skills for doctors preparing to take on greater responsibilities.

Speaking about the arrangement, Dr Fryar said:

'In order to get ahead in their careers, doctors need to stand out from the crowd in today's healthcare environment. Developing strong leadership skills is one way to do this, which is why the expert knowledge of the HLA is so valuable. The HLA has a great deal of expertise in leadership skills and this is something that will be of huge benefit to MDU members, who will have access to a range of leadership resources thanks to the partnership.'

Dr Malawana said:

'For many years I have championed the rights of doctors and medical students, most notably in my campaigning on behalf of junior doctors. Student and young doctors are an integral part of the future of the NHS so it is vital to equip them with all the skills needed to drive our health service forward. An important aspect of that is making sure they have the skills to be the NHS leaders of the future.

'We are an organisation that aims to champion equality while maintaining high standards and are delighted that we have so far managed to recruit a 50:50 gender split amongst participants. We hope that the HLA will help to push both male and female doctors forward in their medical careers to provide valuable leadership in the future.'

Each student who is accepted on to the HLA will have access to a range of resources. They will undertake a programme that develops their understanding of leadership, experience of leadership through practical projects and the philosophies underpinning leadership in healthcare.

Despite the HLA being less than two years old, expansion is taking place already with an additional cohort of students for the 2018/2019 with Healthcare Education England North East (HEE NE) commissioning the organisation to provide leadership training to a further cohort of scholars based in Newcastle.

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