The new chief executive of the Institute of Healthcare Management has pledged to make the organisation a strong voice for managers once again.

The new chief executive of the Institute of Healthcare Management has pledged to make the organisation a strong voice for managers once again.

Sue Hodgetts, who takes up post this month and comes from a background in NHS education and training, acknowledged that the IHM had slipped off the radar in recent years.

'When I told colleagues I am taking the job, they stopped for a minute before saying &Quot;Oh, I remember the IHM&Quot;,' she said.

'It has come to the point that the IHM needs to realign its offer to bring it up to date and support modern managers in the rapidly changing healthcare environment.'

She said that while NHS management had a very powerful voice in the NHS Confederation, individual managers needed a similar voice.

The IHM currently has just over 7,000 members, 9 per cent of them from the independent sector. A new raft of armed forces healthcare managers is now joining following an agreement that the institute should be the 'preferred partner' for providing education and training.

The IHM should not take on the role of a trade union, she added, but needed to find ways to support members and help them network.

Ms Hodgetts welcomed the existing strategic plan that includes working towards royal charter status, a move that she said would see the IHM take on the same status as the royal medical and nursing colleges.

She said: 'I want to make sure the IHM is the natural repository for continuing professional development as well as training. This is a very exciting piece of work.'

The IHM has been without a permanent chief executive for nearly a year following Rosey Foster's retirement.

Ms Hodgetts has worked in NHS education and training for the last seven years, including a stint as lead director for NHSU and four years as chief executive of the Devon and Cornwall workforce development confederation.