A new Institute of Healthcare Management emerges this week - the marriage of two management bodies divided until now by the divergent histories of the two parts of the NHS - primary care, represented by the Association of Managers in General Practice, and the rest, represented by the Institute of Health Services Management.

Their merger is a welcome symbol of the growing sense of a single health service. But it comes about in a curiously low-key fashion. The IHM will be launched at the end of the first day of a conference organised by the partner organisations, not in some swish metropolitan venue, but in Southport's Floral Hall.

After the unhappy experiences of the IHSM over recent years, the IHM faces the hard task of reconstruction. To do that, it will need to speak boldly on behalf of its members and ensure their voices are heard in the corridors of power and in the public arena.

Whether or not it succeeds will be judged by the strength of its membership, the respect with which it is held as an influential player in the New NHS, and its own sound organisational and financial management. HSJ wishes the IHM well.