Imperial College Healthcare Lead Provider

Foreword from Dr Geoff Smith, Associate Medical Director (Lead Provider)



In 2011 the model of delivering postgraduate medical training in London changed. Over the last 4 years every specialty has undergone a process of competitive tendering, with lead providers bidding to run specialties within the region. This is unique in London and is designed to drive and improve the quality of postgraduate medical training.

How does this work?

The Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs) in London are the commissioners of medical training and were originally set up by Health Education England. They set the amount of training posts and define quality standards for training. Each has a postgraduate dean who is responsible for training.

The lead providers were set up to run the delivery of training in the specialties that they successfully bid for. Imperial College Healthcare provides 28 specialties in North West London, North London or across the capital depending on the specialty. The lead providers employ specialty programme directors and set up a training management group for every specialty who are responsible for running each training programme. The lead providers also run regional teaching for each specialty.

Local education providers are Trusts and other organisations where the training actually takes place. They are responsible to the lead provider for the day to day training and ‘on the job’ training which is key to each programme. Each will have a departmental training lead and a director of medical education who are responsible for delivering the best training possible.

What Imperial College Healthcare  offers as a lead provider

Our aim is to provide the best postgraduate training we can for our doctors. This involves:

  • Running regional teaching including simulation training
  • Providing new training opportunities in communication, clinical leadership and education
  • Providing access to our award winning ‘training the trainers of tomorrow’ (T4) development programme
  • Coaching & mentoring opportunities
  • The opportunity for all trainees in commissioned specialties to present an abstract or case report at our Annual Education Excellence Conference
  • Providing training for trainees to act as faculty for simulation workshops offered by the Lead Provider
  • Making sure the local education providers train to a high standard
  • Coming up with innovative ways of training
  • And ensuring that trainees have a chance to undertake all the training we offer

We insist that trainees have a voice at every level of the system – every committee and group has to have trainee representatives to ensure we know what you think. We also hold regular trainee forums which gives trainees an opportunity to feedback to us.

The people

In each local education provider there is:

  • A training lead or college tutor responsible for training in their specialty
  • A director of medical education responsible for training at the Trust or
  • A practice training lead in primary care

At the lead provider:

  • Specialty programme directors for each specialty in charge of the programme and rotations
  • A management team responsible for quality and governance, which includes programme performance and financial management
  • Administration team responsible for communications with trainees and running regional teaching

At the LETBs

  • A director of education quality, responsible for postgraduate education in the geography
  • A postgraduate dean who monitors training and quality for the LETB region.
  • Head of school who oversee quality of training across the whole of London
  • Operations teams responsible for recruitment, ARCPs and OOPs

The structure sounds complicated but makes it very clear who is responsible to who for what. Imperial College Healthcare is both a local education provider and the lead provider but the two teams are completely separate so that there is no conflict of interests.

All of this is in place so that we can provide excellent training for our doctors. If we are not succeeding we need to know so that we can change things.

Our governance

The lead provider is commissioned by the LETBs to oversee the organisation of postgraduate training in 28 specialties across a variety of geographies with the responsibility for over 1800 trainees. The lead provider runs 4 key committees in order to maintain trainer, trainee and local education provider involvement in training and encourage inter-specialty training.

  • Lead provider committee comprising of the directors of medical education from each local education provider, reporting to the medical director’s office
  • Specialty executive committee comprising the specialty programme directors
  • Trainee forum
  • Lead provider team meeting comprising the local team and commissioner representation

This provides a robust governance structure that reports quality outcomes to the commissioners and to the Imperial College Healthcare trust board through the office of the medical director. The associate medical director works closely with the postgraduate dean of the LETB, the heads of specialty schools and the other lead providers, notable CNWL who organise core psychiatry training in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare.

  • Imperial College Healthcare
    Lead Provider

    We provide pioneering core, specialty and GP medical postgraduate training across North West London.

    To support you throughout your professional development, we have a range of integrated training options across 28 specialties, which are led by expert faculty staff.

    Find out how to apply

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