Context Undergraduate medical education in the UK has changed considerably over the last decade. One development has involved the creation of teaching-specific posts for junior doctors by medical schools. These posts are generally termed ‘clinical teaching fellowships’, but it is not known how many of them exist, or whether they are similar in terms of educational activities, professional development, and research and clinical experience opportunities.
Methods Teaching deans in all UK medical schools were sent a questionnaire relating to clinical teaching fellowships, and were asked to distribute a second set of different questionnaires to their clinical teaching fellows, which were to be returned to the authors separately.
Results A total of 28 deans and 46 fellows responded. Fifteen medical schools had clinical teaching fellows and there appeared to be a total of 77 such posts in the UK. There was little uniformity in the activities undertaken within the posts. Deans who employed clinical teaching fellows were unanimously positive regarding the posts. Fellows were generally positive but expressed reservations relating to approval for postgraduate training, career development, deterioration in clinical skills, financial disincentives, credibility within one’s own specialty, and provision of training and support.
Conclusions Clinical teaching fellow posts are generally enjoyed by fellows and valued by deans. Fellows carry out differing duties and their training in medical education is variable. The posts can be unstructured and may lack credibility to doctors outside medical education. Providing specific structured training in medical education, recognised at a national level, would help deal with these concerns.