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View from the top: a thematic analysis of interviews with top healthcare leaders in the UK about leadership and how UK GPs should prepare for it
  1. Veronica Wilkie,
  2. Kay Mohanna
  1. Institute of Health in Society, University of Worcester, Worcester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Veronica Wilkie, Institute of Health and Society, The University of Worcester, Worcester WR2 6RJ, UK; v.wilkie{at}


Introduction Leadership is often quoted as being a solution to future work force problems . This study looks at the views of leaders within the NHS to find out what they think should be done, how and when for GPs in training.

Methods A series of interviews were carried out with senior leaders within the NHS, within primary care, NHS England and Health Education England. All the participants were involved in primary care either assenior general practitioners, senior educators, or clinical and non clinical managers. The interviews were face to face or via a telephone and recorded before being transcribed and analysed. The interviews were carried out until no new information was forthcoming.

Results All of the participants agreed that leadership was necessary. Non clinicians tended to think that the training was best done once a GP had arrived at a senior leadership position, clinicians tended to think leadership training should happen from the start of the career. The competences identified fitted within those originally identified from the Medical Leadership Competency Framework.

Discussion Leadership training is still regarded as important and overall the senior leaders recognised the need for personal qualities, the ability to lead and work in teams, how to manage and improve services and how to set direction for change. The difficulties of organizing this and how to fit this in with the needs of service delivery and current curriculum was highlighted.

  • medical leadership
  • GP
  • career development
  • competencies

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  • Contributors VW designed the study, carried out the interviews and analysed the data and wrote up the findings. KM coanalysed the data and proofread the final write-up.

  • Funding Funding for the transcription costs was provided by Heath Education England (West Midlands) School of General Practice.

  • Competing interests VW works for Health Education England (HEE) in workforce development and is a general practitioner (GP); KM has an academic role at the university and a role in international GP development with Royal College of General Practitioners and is a GP.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval University of Worcester.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The anonymised transcripts are available to an academic institution for the purposes of further related research or meta-ethnography.