Letter: NHS professionals

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The Independent Online
Sir: E. B. Knight-Jones (20 August) expresses concern that managers may be appointed to senior responsible positions in the National Health Service without appropriate qualifications.

The Institute of Health Services Management (IHSM) is the professional body for managers in the NHS and in private health care and has a membership of 8,000. The institute's central purpose is to provide training and continuing professional development for health service managers and it has fulfilled this role since its inception (albeit under a different title) in 1902.

In addition to its own examined qualifications, the IHSM accredits and recognises a wide range of the qualifications offered by colleges and universities at Diploma and Masters level whose syllabuses cover management in the health service.

Dr Knight-Jones is correct in his statement that there is no absolute requirement for candidates for management positions to possess a qualification recognised by this institute or indeed any other body. However, the advice of the IHSM, reinforced by recent publicity, is that NHS managers need to acquire their skills through formal training and experience just as much as their clinical colleagues. What is more, they should be required to demonstrate this through the possession of appropriate qualifications.

Yours sincerely,

PAMELA CHARLWOOD

Director, Institute of

Health Services Management

London, W1

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