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The development of strategic clinical leaders in the National Health Service in Scotland

John Edmonstone (MTDS Consultancy, UK; School of Public Policy and Professional Practice, University of Keele, Keele, UK, Institute for International Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK, and Centre for Innovation in Health Management, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 4 October 2011




The paper seeks to describe a national strategic and multi‐professional clinical leadership programme designed and developed for the National Health Service in Scotland. It addresses the policy imperatives behind the programme, the local and national processes for identifying future clinical leaders and their preparation through the programme.


The background context and case for the programme are considered against international and local contexts. The programme's roots are explored, drawing upon the extensive consultation process used. The programme design is explained and the evaluation methodology and results are described.


Key learning related to programme design and delivery issues is highlighted, as is that relating to leadership itself.

Research limitations/implications

This is a one‐country case study but draws upon recent international good practice.


The case study identifies how a small (five million population) country can devise a strategic clinical leadership programme which reflects the distinctive direction adopted at policy level of working closely with clinical leaders.



Edmonstone, J. (2011), "The development of strategic clinical leaders in the National Health Service in Scotland", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 337-353.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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