News story

Medical directors tell national health bodies what they think

Top doctors say fellow clinicians need more support and encouragement to take on NHS leadership roles in hospital trusts, according to a survey conducted by Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority.

Medical directors, the senior consultants who sit on the boards of NHS trusts and foundation trusts, believe that the job should be a clearer career option within the NHS to attract more clinicians to this increasingly crucial management role.

The survey found that a high proportion of current medical directors are new to the role – with a quarter of respondents having served a year or less in their current job. New medical directors indicated that they would value more mentoring and induction, particularly on their corporate responsibilities. More established medical directors value networking, coaching and board support.

The survey also found that it would be useful for medical directors to have:

  • greater role clarity
  • clearer training and career pathways
  • organisational and peer support – from above, below and alongside
  • more acknowledgements of the strategic as well as the operational aspects of the role

Monitor will meet with national partners over the coming months to consider the report and explore ways of addressing the issues raised.

Professor Hugo Mascie-Taylor, Medical Director at Monitor, said:

The medical director role is a varied and vital one. What our survey tells us is that medical directors at all stages of their careers want more support and we’ll be working with our partners to find out how we can best give it to them.

One initial idea is to offer a version of Monitor’s board induction days – currently aimed at chief executives, chairs and non-executive directors – to medical directors later in the year.

But we’re open to all ideas which will help us both offer support and a career pathway to current medical directors and help us develop new ones. This is just the beginning of what will be a very interesting project.

Report: Supporting the role of the medical director