Ms Boyle started out as a nurse in Glasgow, worked in nursing personnel in Lanarkshire, and moved to Croydon as a personnel manager and then assistant unit general manager before returning as assistant personnel director for Greater Glasgow health board.

She became unit general manager at Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow and took charge as its chief executive when it became a trust.

Four years ago, she quit the NHS to become a management consultant, initially with Hay, before setting up her own business - Delta Consulting International - with two partners.

She kept a finger firmly in the NHS pie - 60 per cent of Delta's work was NHS or health service-related, and her last (and current) assignment was as acting chief executive at Glasgow's Western Infirmary trust.

Now she has been tempted back into the fold full-time to head a new trust encompassing four current trusts, 12 hospitals, 10,000 staff and a budget of£350m. 'It was too good an opportunity to miss,' she says.