Doctors must learn more people skills such as cultural sensitivity but the NHS must also help them cope with service reform, said NHS managers in a survey.

Early results of the NHS Employers survey were discussed today at the NHS Confederation annual conference, where delegates were asked: 'Do doctors have the skills to meet the challenges of the 2030s?'

Dr Ashley Fraser, medical director of NHS Employers, said it showed the service wanted more generalists with broad skills and fewer specialists in fewer centres.

'As far as the generalist provision is concerned we are lagging far behind the provision than what the service would like it to be,' he warned.

Managers also wanted doctors to show non-medical skills, the survey showed.

Dr Fraser said: 'Doctors are not good at team-working, they work in teams but that is different from team-working.'

Leadership and management were crucial skills, managers said, but Dr Fraser said 'doctors believe they are wonderful leaders but they often don't have many followers.'

Also important are communication and people skills, cultural sensitivity, a focus on teaching and learning, risk and performance management and professionalism.

Doctors needed to be 'independent but not autonomous' he said and should become 'agents for change'.

Other anxieties reported by managers were: the shortened curriculum; knowledge but no experience; the ability to respond to advances in medical practice and technology and how well the curriculum can adapt to environmental factors such as female doctors seeking time to have children.

Luke Bruce, director of policy and communications at the Post Medical Education Training Board, said making sure doctors are equipped for the challenges ahead is 'one of the key challenges and one of the key issues for the health service and medical profession.'