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Medical leadership: time to grow the evidence
  1. Peter Lees
  1. Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management
  1. Correspondence to Peter Lees, Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management, 6 St Andrews Place, London NW1 4LB

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The subject of healthcare leadership is evidence light; given its undoubted value to patients and performance, this needs to be addressed. Thus, a major strategic aim of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) is to take a lead in growing research into the value of medical leadership and how best to support its development through training and education. This follows the fine example that clinical medicine has set over the decades in generating and following best evidence. It also acknowledges the important and growing evidence base linking the quality of leadership, management and team-working to clinical outcome. Clinical medicine has many vehicles to disseminate and debate knowledge, evidence and research; medical leadership and management has virtually none.

FMLM was established in 2011 by all of the UK medical royal colleges and faculties—a decision endorsed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. Its prime aim is to improve patient care through better medical leadership, which begs a number of questions. First, the underlying assumption is open to legitimate challenge as much of the argument in favour of better leadership is an extrapolation either from other sectors or healthcare generally, not medically specific. That said, it would be extraordinary if poor medical leadership did not have a negative impact on patient care, and it would still seem reasonable to assert that good leadership and management are essential. Training and development would therefore seem legitimate and essential components of curricula.

Accepting the premise that medical leadership has significant value leads on to …

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