What does it mean to be a chief registrar?

Reflecting on his first months in the role of chief registrar, Dr Tahir Akbar discusses the power of small changes to motivate the workforce at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT).

When I was approached to write a blog for FMLM on my experiences in the role of chief registrar – which I started in February as part of the Royal College of Physicians’ Future Hospital Programme pilot scheme – I found myself reflecting on the challenge I initially set myself. At HHFT, as with many trusts across the country, morale has been low among junior doctors. While this situation is worrying, the introduction of the chief registrar role at HHFT is already making a positive impact on trainees' motivation and morale.

Through the pilot scheme, which seeks to encourage the importance of developing leadership skills at an earlier stage, I have chosen to work with the acute medical team at my hospital to expand our ambulatory care service. Crucial to the pilot’s success is that there are no barriers to open communication. For example, at HHFT we have two-way dialogue between senior management and trainee doctors, and a ‘speed dial’ telephone relationship for both medical and clinical directors.

If you want to improve patient care and outcomes, value and invest in those that deliver this patient care – the trainee doctors.

Dr Tahir Akbar, chief registrar

I have been in the chief registrar role for 3 months now. In this time I have been encouraged by HHFT’s acceptance of the issues at hand with regards to trainees' morale and their commitment to working to improve things. I believe the simple solutions we have already achieved at HHFT are making a real difference to our culture.

I encourage everyone to learn to take a step back and think carefully about the one or two little things that could improve the lives of trainee doctors in the hospital. If you want to improve patient care and outcomes, value and invest in those that deliver this patient care – the trainee doctors. It is only then that you will see the benefits to the organisation.

Dr Tahir Akbar, chief registrar

Tahir’s full blog appears in full at the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management