Clincal Leadership Program

Strategies for sustainable patient safety and system improvement are dependent on strong clinical leadership capabilities. 'Clinical Leadership' occurs at all levels of patient care and refers to:

  • the process of leading a set of activities that improve the delivery of safe clinical care, and
  • the set of attributes required to lead a team, unit, stream or cluster.


The Clinical Leadership Program (CLP) is offered at a Foundational and Executive level.

The Foundational Program is aimed at middle clinicians and managers. It uses a practice development framework and is delivered by facilitators employed in the local health districts.

The Executive Program is aimed at senior clinician managers and is delivered centrally in Sydney by experts who have worked extensively in the areas of leadership, communication and professional development in a health care context. Both programs aim to improve patient safety and clinical quality through enhanced leadership practices.

The first cohorts commenced in January 2007, with 180 participants in the Foundational CLP and 30 in the Executive CLP. Since this time, interest in both programs has increased steadily, with annual intake now exceeding 200 in the Foundational CLP and 78 in the Executive CLP.

Since 2009, the program has been primarily funded by the NSW Ministry of Health, with program support from the Clinical Excellence Commission and participating local health districts.


The CEC Clinical Leadership Program was formally evaluated by an external consultant at the end of 2008, with a number of positive outcomes reported. The program has been subsequently evaluated on an annual basis, with a view to refining the program. The report from the external consultant is attached.


Disclaimer: The Clinical Excellence Commission's Clinical Leadership Program has no association with the Royal College of Nursing, United Kingdom (RCN, UK) Clinical Leadership Programme, represented in Australia by the Royal Adelaide Hospital.