Published: 14/03/2002, Volume II2, No. 5796 Page 4

Birmingham University's health services management centre is to look abroad for a new director after failing to find a suitable candidate in the UK.

The centre decided not to appoint anyone after interviewing two candidates for the post of director last week. The HSMC is attempting to replace Professor Chris Ham, who left in spring 2000 on secondment to the Department of Health strategy unit, and took up a substantive post heading the unit last June.

Although the HSMC post was advertised in November, it was decided after last week's interviews to search again for candidates with a better track record in both fields of health service management and academia.

Acting director John Clark told HSJ the problems in finding a replacement director were not a reflection on the centre: 'I know there are some sort of sounds around 'is HSMC going through a tricky time?' Quite the reverse.

We are thriving at the moment.

The demands are ever increasing and we would be hoping to take on some new staff soon.'

Mr Clark said he hoped to recruit 'by the end of the year' and would approach people abroad as well as in the UK .

The centre has recently seen the departure of senior research fellow Dr Kieran Walshe. Professor of health services management development Paul Bate also left recently, moving to a post at University College London.