Clinical leadership

In order to have sustainable clinical leadership, capable of scaling up efforts from the grassroots level, we have established Clinical Fellowships and Clinical Entrepreneur schemes for the dental profession. With this new network of clinical leaders, we are making a significant investment in ensuring effective and influential leadership for the future.

The Chief Dental Officer’s England Clinical Fellow Scheme, established in 2018, supports talented dental professionals who have had limited dental leadership opportunities and have not held a senior leadership role in dentistry. The Scheme provides a unique opportunity to spend 12 months in a national healthcare-affiliated organisation outside of dental practice, to further develop their skills in leadership, management, strategy, project management, and health policy.

Further information about the scheme and its recruitment can be found on the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) website.

Please note: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS England and NHS Improvement, with FMLM’s support, has taken the difficult decision to postpone the fellowship for 12 months.

Therefore, the fellowship will recommence in 2021 with further details to be released in February 2021.

Please register your interest with the FMLM website to receive information and updates about the 2021/22 scheme.

Clinical fellowship testimonials

Richard Jacob BSc (Hons) BDS (Lond)

As part of the Chief Dental Officer England’s Clinical Fellow Scheme I was offered a place with NHS England and NHS Improvement North (Lancashire-South Cumbria and Cheshire and Mersey) working with the Primary Care Dental Commissioning Team. The scheme presented me with a structured learning experience, working with leaders who have made a significant impact on dental strategy at both regional and national levels.

Experiential learning in this environment has given me:

  • A great insight to the structure of the NHS.
  • Nurtured my leadership skills.
  • Given me the confidence to participate in discussions with stakeholders.
  • Enhanced my presentation skills.
  • Allowed me to apply evidence-based and clinical knowledge in situations where this may have not been considered previously.

I am proud of the fact that even though I was not a wet fingered dentist for the year, the work I carried out will have a direct impact on improving the local populations oral health. Some of the projects I worked on included:

Developing a Dental ‘Primary Care Network’ (PCN) offer for use in the emerging Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP). I have given local and regional oral presentations about what a Primary Care Network is, and how dentistry can integrate into one. I have helped to develop the Primary Care Network Integration Toolkit for Dental Practices. I was the principal author of a peer-reviewed brief on the oral symptoms of syphilis (part of the toolkit). This has been shared with the Public Health Collaborative Leadership Group and it is being considered for use at the national level, and was published locally. I have also given local oral presentations on oral health related topics. The aim of this was to improve the oral health literacy of allied health and social care professionals. This education will help them to give the population a consistent oral health messages through engagement opportunities, and by signposting them to the right clinician who can diagnose and treat them most efficiently.

Support the development of the Local Dental Network and associated Managed Clinical Networks. I have been involved with engaging the key strategic regional and national policy makers to develop the strategy and policies required to restructure the Routine Care Network in Lancashire and South Cumbria. This network will be transformed into the Dental Partnership Network, which will promote and manage dental integration into PCNs.

Development of a dental workforce strategy aligned to the NHS long term plan. I have been the lead in research on recruitment and retention of the dental workforce. I have developed questionnaires for the dental providers to establish if there is a problem with recruitment and retention and to find out why, and, what members of the dental team they are having difficulty recruiting. I also developed electronic questionnaires for newly qualified dental team members and final year dental team members to establish what they are looking for in their career and what qualities of a job offer will attract them to work and remain in an area.

Support the review of head and neck cancer pathways. My contribution was to map out the patient pathway for patients requiring inpatient treatment for head and neck cancer at 4 hospital trusts in Lancashire and South Cumbria, and to assess the staffing levels. The aim of the project is to ascertain if centralisation of the head and neck cancer service will improve patient care make the service more resilient. This involved working with highly complex data, working with facts and situations requiring analysis, interpretation and comparison on a range of options and making decisions on the most appropriate approach. It also promoted patient engagement.

I have also been the lead with the planning and implementation of an electronic referral system for urgent 2-week wait head and neck cancer referrals for dental practices in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Support the office procurement portfolio. I have used my clinical knowledge and experience to help with various procurements.

Aside from my main work streams, I have also been the lead for NHS England and NHS Improvement West’s digital media (social networking) oral health campaign.

The areas of work I was involved in for NHS England and NHS Improvement North, has also made me realise that even though it may require a change in mind set, by working collaboratively with our allied healthcare professionals, with integration of dentistry into primary care networks, flexible commissioning and portfolio carers, the future of dentistry is bright and this will lead to better healthcare outcomes for our patients.

This scheme has introduced me to new friends and future leaders in the fields of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and ophthalmology from all over the United Kingdom. I have travelled and had the privilege to attend meetings in some fabulous venues (Old Trafford to name one), but in terms of development and growth in my field, it has been the most rewarding and influential career move I have ever made.

Sagar Shah

I joined the CDO clinical fellowship scheme in September 2019 and was hosted at NHS Business Services Authority.

Simply put, the scheme has been the best decision I’ve made for my own personal growth and development as a leader. I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to projects of national relevance and have gained invaluable insight into the inner workings of the NHS and its decision making apparatus. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, fellows were seconded to NHS England and NHS Improvement where we organised into our own self-governing group to help in the national response. With appropriate senior oversight and stakeholder input, national guidance and protocols were co-ordinated, developed and published from the unit. I am extremely proud of the work we, collectively as fellows, have been able to achieve this year. It’s truly been an incredible year.

I will take these skills and experiences with me and know they will serve me well into the future.

Natalie Bradley

Being an NHS clinical dental fellow has immersed me in the inner workings of the NHS, helped me understand the perspective and priorities of decision makers and given me the leadership skills I can implement working as a clinician within the NHS. I have learnt the importance of collaboration and inter-professional working and how to effectively engage with patients and the profession when designing and delivering health services. And of course what all those three letter acronyms actually mean.

Paul Levy

I was appointed a Leadership Clinical Fellow at Health Education England (HEE) North West on the FMLM/Chief Dental Officer’s scheme in 2018. As a practicing dentist in primary care, the scheme was invaluable in affording me first-hand insight into the world of dental education and training policymaking and how this fits into wider NHS priorities in England.

My role within HEE has primarily centred on the Advancing Dental Care (ADC) Education and Training Review Programme which aims to develop a dental education and training infrastructure that is fit for purpose and meets the needs of patients and services alike. Under the guidance of our Postgraduate Dental Dean- Donna Holden, I have been involved in primary research appraising current models of pre-registration, foundation and core dental education and training. More recently, as Senior Clinical Fellow, I have been tasked with developing new models of postgraduate training for dentists working in primary care. I have also acted as mentor to two Clinical Fellows on the 2019/2020 FMLM/OCDO scheme.

My time at HEE has been invaluable in allowing me to hone and develop my skills in research, analytical thinking and workforce planning (as well as my artistic skills in map design!). I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy having at seat at the decision-making table and the dynamic nature of the post with no two days being the same.

With the support of FMLM and their bespoke leadership development programme, I have developed new ways of thinking and working to ensure that links with wider stakeholders (including patients) are made which will inform the development of key changes in dental education for all members of the dental team and optimal outcomes for patients.