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Multi-professional clinical leadership training in healthcare: A peer-led evaluation of the experience and benefits of the “Darzi Fellowship”

Rory Conn (Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK)
Amit Bali (Department of Paediatric Neurology, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK)
Elizabeth Akers (Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children NHS Trust, London, UK)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 14 November 2016




The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of a structured clinical leadership programme on healthcare professionals working within the British National Health Service (NHS). Clinical leadership is now regarded as essential in addressing the complex challenges in the NHS, yet few trainees of any healthcare discipline receive formal training. The study describes a peer-led evaluation of a year-long, multidisciplinary, experiential programme, the “Darzi Fellowship”, based in London.


An anonymous survey was analysed using a mixed-methods approach. Individual and collective experiences of fellows were evaluated, in particular the perceived impact the fellowship had on: the fellows themselves, their “host” organisation and the NHS as a whole.


A 90 per cent return rate was achieved. In all, 94 per cent reported that the experience had been valuable to them, 85 per cent feeling more empowered to effect change in healthcare systems. Crucial mechanisms to achieve this included increased self-awareness, personal reflection and the freedom to gain a greater understanding of organisations. Particular emphasis was placed on the value of developing clinical networks which promote collaboration across boundaries. Fellows emerged as more reflexive, critical and strategic thinkers.

Practical implications

This paper demonstrates the positive impact that clinical leadership training can have on participants, and the mechanisms by which future leaders can be created.


The novel, non-commissioned, peer-initiated and peer-led evaluation describes the personal experiences of fellows in a unique, multidisciplinary clinical leadership programme. The authors hope this will inform the development of future schemes in the NHS and provide learning for an international healthcare audience.



Conn, R., Bali, A. and Akers, E. (2016), "Multi-professional clinical leadership training in healthcare: A peer-led evaluation of the experience and benefits of the “Darzi Fellowship”", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 317-335.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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