Leadership and management

We are identifying high quality resources to help members develop leadership capabilities in a range of GP-specific contexts. Our focus is on compassionate, collaborative and inclusive leadership approaches. We aim to equip our members to fulfil their leadership potential, benefiting local and national systems, practice teams, the GP and patient care.


Compassionate, collaborative and inclusive leadership

There are many types of leadership in general practice and some of these will be explored in the following video stories. GPs with wide a variety of experiences speak about what leadership means to them and tell us about their personal leadership journeys. These will serve to inspire our members to realise their leadership potential. We invite you to contribute your own story as we develop this resource.

What is 'good' leadership?

Leadership theories are aplenty but we strongly believe that compassionate, collaborative and inclusive models best contribute to excellent quality primary care at all levels.

  • Compassionate - we listen, understand and empathise with our patients and colleagues.
  • Collaborative - we work with others to deliver real change for our patients, often across organisational boundaries and in increasingly complex structures, where traditional ‘top down’ relationships no longer have the same relevance.
  • Inclusive - we 'connect with purpose' and involve others in the conversation to achieve better patient outcomes.

A framework to help GPs develop their leadership skills.

Leadership for trainees.

Schemes and resources, including RCGP mentoring.

Opportunities to enhance clinical, educational and leadership potential.

Although more than 50% of today’s GPs are women, they are not equally represented at the top levels of medicine. What gender issues have contributed to this discrepancy?

A collaborative offer from RCGP, Modality and LSBU.

The RCGP is at the forefront of providing support directly to practices.

The first online learning module for members exploring what leadership is and how you can understand yourself as a leader.

Introduction to leadership

In this video, Dr Mike Holmes, former Vice Chair, Membership & International talks about Leadership and what it means in different aspects of general practice, including the five pillars of leadership.

Leadership roles can be held by any GP at any stage of their career, and there are many different paths to leadership. In the video, below, Dr Roger Neighbour speaks about Zen and the Art of Leadership

"In a way the consultation is a special case of leadership, consulting is about being an agent of helpfulness at the one-to-one level, and leadership is about being helpful on a potentially larger scale"

Dr Roger Neighbour

GP Trainees

Developing medical leadership is a toolkit produced by the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) in partnership with Health Education England which signposts opportunities for leadership development.

Additionally, the TSG how to guides are a collection of practical resources to help junior doctors complete projects.

Leadership skills are an essential component to the everyday work of a GP. The Workplace Based Assessment (WPBA includes mandatory requirements in relation to leadership, and trainees are encouraged to develop their leadership skills incrementally over their training programme and record any other leadership activities undertaken.

The following are examples of resources provided by Deaneries to support trainees in the leadership and management aspects of the training programme. We would advise that you consult your educational supervisor about the most appropriate resources for your needs.


In the modern world of health and social care we increasingly hear about the importance of good leadership. We are encouraged to think about how to develop our own leadership skills – it feels like it is almost as important as developing our clinical skills. Over time, the concept of leadership has become so important to me in my career. I have taken my learning and development from multiple sources – certainly from the people around me at practice level, those I have encountered whilst working in and with organisations like the RCGP, HEE and NHSE but also from formal educational programmes, particularly at the NHS Leadership Academy.

My reflection is that all of these have been helpful in various ways. The courses and the theory have helped me frame, what I feel, is the most important part – connection to individuals, teams and organisations. I have recognised the power of networking and I have realised the absolute importance of building human relationships with those around me. As we move into a world of collaboration between practices, within PCNs and out in the wider system the need for human connection and to seek to understand multiple perspectives is paramount. Balancing compassion and understanding with the ability to lead change whilst bringing others with them is, for me, the ultimate objective for a modern leader…..and continues to be a personal goal for me.

In this section, we offer some resources to help us think about these aspects of leadership. There are links to some great examples of this - Next Gen GP, the FMLM, NHS Collaborate amongst others and some videos of people reflecting their leadership experiences and sharing their thoughts on what is important to them.

Professor Michael Holmes, former Vice Chair (Membership & International)

  • Next Generation GP runs regular events, engaging with leaders in primary care and aimed at GP trainees and early career GPs (first 5-7 years).
  • The RCGP has been working closely with NHS Collaborate, which is a mutually supportive community of leaders across primary care.
  • RCGP Mentoring provides a place where members can support one another in their career growth and development.
  • The FMLM provide a mentoring scheme and is available to their members at any career stage. GPs might also wish to contact their local RCGP Faculty to see if any local mentorship schemes are available.

Leadership programmes

There are many opportunities for GPs to develop leadership capabilities, in vocational training, through formal programmes and in day-to-day practice.

Become a primary care leader

We've partnered with London South Bank University (LSBU) and Modality Partnership to offer a work-based learning programme that provides the practical knowledge, understanding and skills required for leading primary care at an executive level.

The Leading Primary Care programme is aimed at primary care partners and leaders, covering all aspects of primary care management and leadership for effective general practice and PCN working.

The programme is open to all, not only new partners or GPs, and includes executive coaching sessions valued at £500 provided by the RCGP and LSBU.

RCGP members will also have free access to the RCGP mentoring portal, matching them with a mentor based on their skill needs.

The leadership course - Leading the primary care programme was very relevant to my job. It has changed my insight into how to manage primary care at leadership level. I learnt about working effectively with colleagues, managing teams and working in networks. I have developed my understanding of finances in primary care, patient centred approach to care provision, data interpretation and its implications. It developed my understanding of innovation and change in healthcare. I highly recommend this course to healthcare staff planning to take up leadership roles.
The Leading Primary Care course was thought-provoking and informative. It left me buzzing with ideas for future practice as an individual clinician and as a team. I felt inspired and in awe of the course leaders and facilitators, who provided me with rich learning and new perspectives.


The programme costs £2995. New practice partners might be able to reimburse their place through the NHS New To Practice programme, if eligible. This is not managed by the RCGP or partner course providers. Enrolment is now open, with the programme commencing in September 2022.

Register online

Organisational management and leadership is one of the 13 capabilities which form the RCGP curriculum. Our GP trainee page highlights some of the resources which are available to support trainees in the delivery of the leadership and management aspects of the curriculum.

Fellowships enable newly qualified GPs to enhance their clinical, educational and leadership potential and support current and future primary care workforce needs. A number of organisations offer Fellowships, including Health Education England and the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management.

There are many other leadership programmes and commercial training opportunities. Some of the key leadership programmes include, but are not limited to:

Our resources

Contact us

Email us: leadershipprogramme@rcgp.org.uk