GPs are often looked up to as key leaders and opinion formers within their local communities, ensuring that local health issues are addressed, influencing how health resources are spent, and contributing to the local media. But it appears that the younger generation of GPs is less interested in taking on these roles.

Related document: The leadership challenge for general practice in England

What did we explore?

To inform its work, the Inquiry panel commissioned a discussion paper to examine the value of GPs as leaders. The leadership challenge for general practice in England assesses the barriers to providing high quality clinical leadership, what general practice can do to develop leadership capacity, and ways to measure the extent and quality of clinical leadership.

The paper author is Richard Giordano, Senior Lecturer, School of Health Sciences, University of Southampton and a former Senior Consultant, Leadership, at The King's Fund.

What have we learnt about clinical leadership by GPs?

Key issues raised for debate include:

  • What are the appropriate leadership and advocacy roles for GPs in the wider local health economy?
  • What influence can GPs have on policy at the community, primary care trusts and regional level, including on the commissioning and evaluation of new services?
  • How can individuals and teams in general practice be motivated to provide high-quality clinical leadership and to sustain innovation and improvement?

What's your view?

During the inquiry, we asked for your opinions on this care dimension. You can read comments submitted below.

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Terri Eynon

GP mental health lead/sessional GP,
Comment date
25 January 2011
The ability to negotiate a complex and shifting web of relationships is one I recognise as having been a key skill in my own better moments.

I often liken my role to being a good hostess at a party - putting people in touch with one another so they spark each other off.

Sometimes there is more heat than light - but often there is creative tension, sometimes partnership and just often enough a leader emerges who takes the project and runs with it. Not always in quite the direction I'd have liked - but being a control freak doesn't help either so it is good to know when to let go.

Knowing how people work - especially people in organisations, like district councils, that are unfamiliar - is a crucial skill but one GPs can transfer from the day-job.

Being able to tolerate dissension and be open about errors is not something we are quite so clever with.