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Developing junior doctors as leaders of service improvement

Jason Micallef (Institute for Health Leadership, Department of Health, Perth, Australia)
Brodene Straw (Institute for Health Leadership, Department of Health, Perth, Australia)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 6 October 2014




This paper aims to provide an overview of the design and initial outcomes of a leadership and service improvement program for junior medical staff.


This paper describes the rationale, initial set-up, structure, program outcomes and future directions of the Medical Service Improvement Program for junior doctors. This program is a recent initiative of the Western Australian public healthcare system.


The Medical Service Improvement Program illustrates a successful approach to developing junior doctors to lead improvements in health service delivery. The program has resulted in tangible personal outcomes for participants, in addition to important organisational outcomes.

Practical implications

This paper provides an evidence-based structured approach to developing the leadership abilities of junior medical staff. It provides practical information on the design of the leadership program that aligns the participant learning outcomes to postgraduate medical competencies. The program has demonstrated clear service outcomes, confirming that junior medical staff is both capable and committed to leading service improvement and reform.


This paper provides clear evidence for the benefits of providing dedicated non-clinical time for junior medical staff to lead quality and improvement initiatives. This case study will assist hospital administrators, postgraduate education units and those involved in designing and administering clinical leadership development programs.



The authors wish to acknowledge Mr John Clark, Adjunct Associate Professor at The University of Warwick Medical School, for his contribution to this article.


Micallef, J. and Straw, B. (2014), "Developing junior doctors as leaders of service improvement", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 316-329.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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