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

NHS London is setting about seeking and training those who have the potential to become chief executives of hospital and primary care trusts.

NHS London chief executive Ruth Carnall said the authority wanted to develop the ability of talent 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.'

Mr Carnall said the reward for successful candidates will be 'the opportunity to hone their leadership skills and potentially have one of the most challenging, varied and fulfilling roles in public service management’.

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 the spring next year and applications have to be received by December 3.

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