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Keywords:

  • clinical leadership;
  • general management leadership;
  • professional practice;
  • challenges for clinical leadership

Abstract

The article explores the concept of clinical leadership in the National Health Service in the UK by seeking to establish a workable definition and by contrasting it with managerial leadership, focussing on the ‘disconnected hierarchy’ in professional organizations. It proposes that the problems faced by clinical leadership relate to the current nature of general management in the NHS and concludes by suggesting that clinical leadership is the ‘elephant in the room’—often ignored or unaddressed. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.