Published: 08/12/2005 Volume 115 No. 5985 Page 39

Self-styled gamekeeperturned-poacher Sarah Smith turned her back on nearly seven years working in primary care when she applied for the role of director of development for Walsall Hospitals trust.

Advertised in the 7 April issue of HSJ , the job promised substantial remuneration for a new, board-level position and carried a tempting word: visionary. 'I was director of commissioning in a PCT, but I felt that commissioning was still too arm's-length from actually making a change. It was a very slow-moving process. I wanted more instant results, ' says Sarah.

The solution was to go back to the acute sector, where she found herself 'on a steeper learning curve than I thought with my experience in commissioning acute services'.

'My priority is to raise the profile of the trust in line with patient choice and choose and book. We are in the West Midlands conurbation, where there are bigger players down the road, but we have got to sell ourselves.' As well as a heavy marketing focus, Sarah has also been working on the trust's redevelopment plans for a new private finance initiative hospital building project. The other major focus is on helping to prepare the organisation to be in a position to bid for foundation trust status. Underlying it all is creating a fiveyear vision for the trust.

And Sarah believes her commissioning experience was vital in helping her land her job. 'I understand primary care as much as the people who are commissioning services from us, ' she explains. 'We are looking at business development opportunities. With the opening up of primary care that might be a market we move into.' If you found your job in HSJ and would like to be featured in this section, please e-mail hsjworkinglives@emap. com