Centre for Health Leadership & Enterprise

Cambridge Chief Residents' Leadership & Management Programme

Cambridge University Health Partners (CUHP)* and Cambridge Judge Business School's Centre for Health Leadership and Enterprise offer this joint programme to specialist registrars and GPs in the East of England. The programme, initiated in 2010 at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Addenbrooke's), attracts 40-50 participants each year and is endorsed by CUHP and sponsored by the NHS through its local education and training board Health Education East of England (HEEoE).


The target audience of the programme are early career doctors, specifically senior trainees and GPs, who are likely to remain clinically focused during their career but are keen to engage with management challenges in their units. The goal of the programme is to make these doctors more effective as clinicians and future leaders of healthcare delivery and enable them to initiate improvement initiatives and take the clinical lead in such projects.


The programme has three objectives.

  1. Demystifying management language

    Although good management is largely common sense, it is often dressed up in unintelligible language. The participants will learn the common sense meaning behind key management concepts, such as "strategy", "innovation" or "efficiency", and some of the more technical language of financial, project and operations management. This will enable them to be confident and feel comfortable in discussions with managers at all levels.
  2. Providing tools and frameworks

    Management is a systematic activity, aimed at organising resources in the best possible way to achieve the goals of an organisation. The participants will learn frameworks and tools that allow them to formulate their unit's goals and choose and lead appropriate improvement projects in their units.
  3. Nurturing a "taking the lead" mindset

    Good management is important - but it will not lead to change unless accompanied by leadership, the individual ability to galvanise people with diverse personal goals, who are often frustrated and cynical, and at times outright hostile. The integration of the taught sessions of the programme with a service improvement project provides a platform for the discussion of practical leadership challenges.

Programme Structure & Components

The programme is delivered over the course of 10 months, from October to July, and consists of three components: (i) a series of ten taught modules, one day per month, (ii) a service improvement project, conducted in parallel at the participant's organisation, and (iii) a simulation day, putting the participants in the role of a senior leader in an imaginary but realistic setting.

The 10 taught modules are led by Cambridge Judge Business School faculty, covering core aspects of an MBA curriculum in an abbreviated and tailored fashion. In order to avoid a narrow NHS-focus and provide broader learning potential, faculty will discuss how companies across industries - from John Lewis and Walt Disney to Apple and Ryanair - and their staff wrestle with and solve problems that are very similar to those faced by the participants' organisations and service delivery units.

The one-day sessions cover the following themes:

  1. Introduction to leadership and the management of improvement projects (Stefan Scholtes, Jessica Watts)
  2. Understanding your customers and their problems (Stefan Scholtes)
  3. Developing a strategy for your unit (Kamal Munir)
  4. Executing your strategy: operations management (Jane Davies)
  5. Daring to do new things: innovation (Michael Barrett)
  6. Running against a brick wall: behaviours in hospitals (Philip Stiles)
  7. Galvanising motivation: managing highly performing teams (Mark de Rond)
  8. Working within a system: commissioning health services (Jessica Watts)
  9. Balancing the books: understanding your organisation's accounts and the financial impact of investments (Amir Amel-Zadeh)
  10. Project presentations and appraisal (all faculty)

These teaching sessions are integrated with a 10-month service improvement project that each participant undertakes at their trust or GP practice. These projects are key to embedding the learning and have senior clinical and management support. Participants are encouraged to team up to solve cross-disciplinary problems in their hospital or tackle challenges on the interface between primary and secondary care. The projects focus on clinical quality or efficiency improvements and should be aspirational. As a guide, trusts and practices should choose projects which, if successful, will be worth in excess of 50,000.

Programme Direction & Oversight

The programme is co-directed by Jonathan Gillard, Professor of Neuroradiology at the University of Cambridge, who has significant management experience and holds an MBA degree from Cambridge Judge Business School, and Jessica Watts, who holds a Masters in Health Service Management from University College London, and has over 20 years' experience as a Senior Leader and Manager in the NHS, including holding posts at Board level.

The programme is not static. Feedback from participants and their organisations feeds into a continuous improvement cycle, overseen by a steering group, consisting of the programme co-directors, Jag Ahluwalia (Medical Director, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), Arun Gupta (Director of Education, Cambridge University Health Partners) and Stefan Scholtes (Dennis Gillings Professor of Health Management, Cambridge Judge Business School).

Find Out More

For further information please contact Jessica Watts.

* Members of CUHP comprise the University of Cambridge, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Papworth Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.

© Cambridge Judge Business School, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1AG, UK. Tel +44 (0)1223 339700