Leadership competency for doctors: a framework

John Clark (NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, London, UK)
Kirsten Armit (NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, London, UK)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Publication date: 4 May 2010



The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of competences in medical education and training and to discuss some existing standards, curricula and competency frameworks used by the medical profession in both the UK and internationally to inform leadership development.


This research reinforces the message delivered by the medical profession and policy makers in recent years that all doctors should attain management and leadership competences in addition to clinical knowledge and skills to be an effective and safe practitioner. In the UK, this message and research has helped inform the development of a Medical Leadership Competency Framework (MLCF) published by The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges[1] and NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement[2].


Widespread acceptance of the MLCF is now resulting in the integration of leadership and management competences into all undergraduate and postgraduate curricula.

Practical implications

Other countries with similar histories of low medical engagement in planning, delivery and transformation of services may also benefit from the research undertaken and the MLCF


The paper shows that the MLCF may well inspire more doctors in the future to seek formal leadership positions.



Clark, J. and Armit, K. (2010), "Leadership competency for doctors: a framework", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 115-129. https://doi.org/10.1108/17511871011040706

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