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The National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow Scheme 2022/23

20 October 2021

Apply by 10th November!

Vishal Shah MA (Oxon) BM BCh FRCOphth, is the current National Medical Director’s RCOphth Clinical Fellow, and a Specialty Registrar in Ophthalmology. Here, he explains the benefits of this prestigious scheme.

What is it?

The scheme is run by the Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management (FMLM) and places fellows at a national healthcare-affiliated host organisation for a fulltime 12-month position.

Recruitment is highly competitive and open to trainees from any specialty nationally. There are a range of hosts currently involved in the programme, including the RCOphth, NHS England & NHS Improvement, NHS X, NHS Digital, Health Education England (HEE), the General Medical Council (GMC), the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and BUPA to name but a few. The RCOphth currently hosts one fellow while some of the other organizations host several.

Why do it?

The scheme is designed to develop skills in leadership, management, strategy, project management, and health policy. For those of you interested in a portfolio career, this interest area is an alternative to the traditional routes of research and teaching.

Personally, I have always passionately believed that clinicians are best placed to serve as leaders in healthcare and so I see the scheme as a means to empower myself with the structural framework necessary to realise this ambition. You can learn more about why I decided to participate in the scheme.

What do I do as the National Medical Director’s RCOphth Clinical Fellow?

There is a lot of flexibility in how you wish to structure your year. The more you put in, the more you will get out and I encourage anyone to contact their host early after appointment, so you can hit the ground running on starting. My current roles include:

  1. National Eye Care Recovery & Transformation Programme: I have led an interim review of NHS X’s Eye Care digital playbook requiring stakeholder engagement, and performed a literature search to bring the Future NHS Eye Care Hub evidence base up to date. Both projects share the latest ways innovative solutions are being used in eye care. I am also leading a team to produce a national pathway and toolkit to complement recent updated guidance on screening of a particular condition.
  2. Policy: I work with leaders on strategic aims in a range of small working groups. For example, as part of the workforce sustainability group I am collating evidence to produce a, “how to” document for units to incentivize and retain their ophthalmic technician workforce.
  3. Training: I have joined the new portfolio steering group, and so will be working on the portfolio to be used in the delivery of the new curriculum.
  4. Audit: I am working with the RCOphth National Ophthalmology Database (NOD) Audit on a national project around cataract surgery.

In the post-pandemic era, the bulk of meetings are hosted via virtual platforms which has meant that aside from a handful of in-person duties, I am working from home.

How to apply

Applications for the 2022/23 intake are now live! Apply online by 10 November. https://www.fmlm.ac.uk/clinical-fellow-schemes/

Recruitment is highly competitive and open to trainees from any specialty nationally. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview, at which point you will be asked to rank host organisations. Successful candidates will be matched to their host based upon performance. You are strongly advised to inform your Training Programme Director of your application early, to get the ball rolling for your out of programme experience (OOPE) application.

Good luck! Please feel free to email me with any questions: [email protected]