The increased global need for qualified and experienced Medical Leaders in the past 18 months has also seen cross-collaboration between international healthcare organisations gain momentum.
The opportunity has not been lost on RACMA. With the winding down of the World Federation of Medical Managers, RACMA and the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) looked to strengthen and formalise their partnership, culminating in the signing of an MoU in 2019.
The connection came about through the shared vision of setting the standard for excellence in Medical Leadership and Management and increasing the number of medical practitioners in leadership and management roles because of their experience and appreciation of medicine at the coalface.
An example of the two agencies’ developing alignment to advance research into Medical Leadership and Management is the agreement for the BMJ Leader to become the scientific journal of RACMA. As the FMLM’s official journal dedicated to Medical Leadership and Management, all RACMA Members now benefit by having full access to the BMJ Leader.
Many RACMA Members are familiar with the FMLM and regularly attend their annual conferences. In the past, RACMA Members have featured as presenters, while the College submitted a Poster at the 2019 conference showcasing the Leadership for Clinicians Program.
Together the two organisations aim to nurture a wider spirit of collegiality and increase the network of like-minded professionals to share insights and solutions to similar healthcare governance challenges and discuss new management innovations.
RACMA Chief Executive Melanie Saba and FMLM Chief Executive Peter Lees are keen to increase the exchange of learnings and research, as well as create opportunities for each organisation’s members to engage in realistic discussions.
“I think there is much to be gained from the significant synergies between both organisations,” Ms Saba said.
“We are also in a position to take advantage of the increased interest in Medical Leadership as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be exploring every opportunity to bring our members and leaders together on a regular basis to advance Medical Leadership in both countries.”
Mr Lees agrees both FMLM and RACMA can learn a lot from each other.
“It’s about addressing what works and what doesn’t work,” Mr Lees said.
“I think what is particularly exciting is your model is very different to us and I think we haven’t yet compared and contrasted that. That leads me onto the research agenda which we are putting a lot of effort into because there is research which shows if you have good leadership, outcomes are better even to the point of mortality.
“It is important for us to be exposed to different approaches to the same challenges so we’re not just getting a UK perspective. I think this could be the beginning of some quite serious comparisons with other countries as well.”
The end goal between the two organisations remains firmly aligned despite the basis of RACMA and FMLM differing. Medical Leadership is not a recognised medical speciality in the UK, hence the FMLM does not deliver training and education to become a recognised specialist in the field. Instead, it acts as more of a professional body for Medical Leaders and Managers, focusing on professionalisation, research and individual and organisational leadership development.
FMLM, established in 2011 by all the UK medical royal colleges and faculties and endorsed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, is the UK professional home for medical leadership. Their primary objective is to raise the standard of patient care by improving Medical Leadership. In 2019 it became an independent charity with a ‘trading arm’ the sole purpose of which is to support the charity and its aims and objectives.
FMLM currently has 2600 Members. Its three areas of focus are:
“For several years now, we at the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) have been building a professional body; setting standards, issuing guidance, developing our fellowship, running events and increasingly moving into supporting people and organisations under pressure,” Mr Lees said.
“I think we are gaining in recognition at the moment, but it’s something we’re constantly vigilant about.”
Mr Lees, who was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to Medical Leadership, said there was evidence which indicated doctors make good chief executives.
“Evidence also says if you have three or four doctors on hospital boards, then quality goes up and I think we’ve ignored that end far too much,” he said.
“We need more doctors in management and leadership roles in the UK. Our healthcare boards do not have enough clinical expertise when that’s the core business.
“I think we have to get leadership and management on the agenda much earlier. I would argue to become a good doctor, you have to be a good leader and manager.”
To learn more about the FMLM, their strategy and programs, visit https://www.fmlm.ac.uk/