Six-step course for the new consultant

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This year-long RCP programme, developed using our first-hand experience of best leadership practice and evidenced by post-CCT surveys, explores the role of a new consultant. It will support you to successfully maximise the opportunities presented by your new role.

The programme is part of the RCP's Clinicians as leaders theme and meets the need for a practical year-long programme with plenty of group work and networking. It's aimed at those stepping into a consultant role, including post-CESR SAS doctors, ‘helping you to just do it’.

The need for this programme was evidenced in our regular post CCT survey showing only 25% of new consultants had access to a trust-delivered development programme and only 64% had a job planning meeting before they began their consultant post.

The programme

This programme has been designed by a team including senior clinicians and those who are new consultants and includes patient representation. The programme consists of six contact days which will explore the themes below, with wellbeing woven through the days.

  • Day 1: Developing yourself and your role – ‘Things you need to know when you first start’
  • Day 2: Managing others and culture – ‘Leadership, culture and teamwork’
  • Day 3: Working within the legal structures of your role – ‘Conquering complaints’
  • Day 4: The NHS, improvement and efficiency – ‘Mastering management’
  • Day 5: Recognising team culture – ‘Equality, inclusivity and understanding difference’
  • Day 6: Onward into the future including the future of medicine – ‘Onward journey’

The contact days will be a combination of face-to-face and virtual to help busy trusts and consultants make the best use of time, ensuring it is possible to participate in the programme successfully.

Teaching days will be interactive, allowing learners to work together and explore specific areas important to the role. Supportive resources and reading lists will be supplied throughout the programme.

Find out more about the programme and its benefits.


Learners who attend all six teaching days will be eligible to complete the accreditation associated with this programme. The accreditation will match a project you are currently involved in at your trust to the skills learnt in one of the areas studied on the programme. Time will be given in the programme to look at trust-based projects and how they can be supported with the tools you are learning.

Apply to take part in the programme

The programme is aimed at those stepping into a consultant role, including post-CESR SAS doctors.

The cost for the year-long programme (for consultants not taking part in the AstraZeneca-sponsored QI work) is £2,000 (£1,800 with our 10% member discount). This can be split over 2 financial years and we encourage the use of study budgets and trust top-ups to fund the programme.

We suggest you ask your medical director or trust to support your application for this programme. We are happy to contact them and discuss how this might be possible, contact us at

Applications for the autumn 2024 cohort will open in spring 2024. Please register your interest via the form below.

Apply now

Quality improvement case study

AstraZeneca has provided funding to support the development of the quality improvement (QI) case studies component of this programme; and to allow the RCP to offer the programme at a reduced cost for those who undertake a quality improvement case study. Learners will preferably provide someone in their trust who will support their project. If this is not possible, the RCP may be able to help.

In order to be eligible to undertake the programme at the reduced cost, participants will be expected to: 

  1. Agree to deliver their quality improvement work in the specified timescale.
  2. Align their quality improvement work to AstraZeneca’s six medical missions (as outlined in the downloadable information leaflet below) within the specialties of respiratory medicine, nephrology and cardiology.
  3. Present their completed quality improvement programme case study either as an oral or poster presentation to AstraZeneca and the RCP (AstraZeneca and the RCP may choose to disseminate this work more widely across the NHS with your prior agreement).

AstraZeneca has provided funding towards the development of this six-step quality improvement programme (QIP) for new consultants, aligned to its medical missions for healthcare practice change. Other than providing a digital leave piece for the QIP as well as communicating the existence the QIP and its purpose to new consultants, AstraZeneca has no additional involvement in or influence over the design or specification, candidate selection or written and published materials pertaining to the programme.
If you would like to be considered for a sponsored QI case study place, please complete the application form, selecting your preferences. You will also need to provide a 300-word personal statement. After applying, you will still have the opportunity to take place in the programme as a self-funded delegate if you are not selected for sponsorship.

The RCP will award places via a combined screening and lottery system used for selection.
Find out more about AstraZeneca’s six medical missions that should be aligned to your quality improvement work here.