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Chief Registrar Programme

What we are doing

The RCP Chief Registrar Programme is a flagship leadership development programme for trainee doctors who are committed to quality improvement. 

The Chief Registrar role is a senior leadership role for doctors. The programme develops the clinical leaders of the future and helps chief registrars to ensure NHS organisations deliver the highest quality of treatment and care for patients.

One of the key recommendations highlighted by the Future Hospital Commission report was the need to create a new, senior leadership role for trainee doctors, which would focus on delivering high-quality, safe patient care.

The RCP responded by establishing the Chief Registrar Programme, a role that provides protected time for doctors in training to practice leadership and quality improvement while remaining in clinical practice. The role is supported by a bespoke 10-month development programme designed and delivered by the RCP. 

Chief registrars: 

  • provide a vital bridge between senior clinical leaders, managers and the wider trainee workforce
  • address local challenges and priorities around service improvement, education and training, engagement and morale, workforce and sustainability
  • collaborate across teams and traditional boundaries to deliver better outcomes for patients, teams and services, increasing efficiency and reducing costs. 

Recruiting for 2022/23  

The Chief Registrar Programme is no longer accepting expressions of interest for the 22/23 cohort. You can register your interest for the next cohort by emailing chiefregistrar@rcp.ac.uk. View the previous experiences of our 2020/21 cohort in the yearbook.

Key criteria for recruitment:

  • open to all physician and non-physician specialties
  • doctors in training must be minimum ST4 level or equivalent
  • posts must be for a minimum of 12 months
  • doctors in training must have 40-50% of their time protected for chief registrar activities
  • the role may be carried out in programme or out of programme (training or experience). 

To find out more about the chief registrar programme as an NHS organisation or trainee, please email chiefregistrar@rcp.ac.uk

What the programme involves? 

The 10-month programme consists of five 2-day modules taught by RCP educationalists and experts in quality improvement. Modules will be spread over the course of the programme and cover the following topics: 

  • change management
  • team culture and development
  • quality improvement
  • leadership
  • influencing
  • personal resilience. 

We will deliver the programme through a combination of face to face and online learning. We will be driven by governance regarding COVID-19 to determine the dates for face to face modulesLocations for these modules will be confirmed once we have an idea of where our chief registrars will be based. Updates will follow.

As a result of the development programme, chief registrars will: 

  • gain aptitude and confidence as senior leaders
  • achieve a deeper understanding of their own and others’ styles 
  • have the technical knowledge and skills to lead continuous quality improvement.

We have guidance available for recruiting organisations and further information for trainees

What we have produced

From mentoring a chief registrar to life-long colleagues, Dr Rachel Tennant reflects on her experience of being a chief registrar mentor over the last three years.

Dr Gareth Lewis, chief registrar mentor at Antrim Area Hospital, Northern Ireland shares seven helpful steps as a chief registrar mentor to help chief registrars succeed!

Dr Carlo Prina reflects on his experience of being a chief registrar mentor over the past two years and outlines some key benefits of having a chief registrar at Homerton University Hospital.

Information for NHS organisations interested in recruiting RCP chief registrars.
Information about the RCP's Chief Registrar Programme for trainees interested in applying.
The findings of a specially commissioned report produced by the Health Services Management Centre at the University of Birmingham, which set out to independently evaluate the impact of the Royal College of Physician's (RCP's) scheme on the chief registrars, the individuals and teams they work with, and their wider organisations.

Insights, learning and resources from current and former participants in the Royal College of Physicians' (RCP's) Chief Registrar Programme. 

Dr Ananthakrishnan Raghuram, consultant chest physician, outlines his experience of recruiting two chief registrars in Cheltenham General Hospital in the first year of the Future Hospital chief registrar scheme.

In this series of case studies, a selection of trusts share their experiences of joining the first cohort of the chief registrar scheme. 

Dr Zoe Burton provides an insight into what a typical week looks like for her as a chief registrar and anaesthetics trainee at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.