The capital's strategic health authority is setting up a talent-spotting programme to groom would-be chief executives.

NHS London is seeking out and training those who have the potential to lead hospital and primary care trusts.

Chief executive Ruth Carnall said the SHA wanted to develop the ability of talented people. 'We don't expect them to be the finished article already, we want to spot and grow potential. They will need determination, resilience and the ability to build on the leadership skills they already have.'

The development programme will last 18 months and will involve coaching and mentoring, including one-to-one partnerships with executives outside the NHS.

The first group will start the programme in spring; applications have to be received by 3 December.

Staff can nominate themselves, but will need the endorsement of a senior executive from their trust.