Neetu Sharma

General Management Scheme

Head of Strategy and Planning

What programme were you on when you joined the GMTS and when did you leave?

I was on the GMTS between 2004-2006 in the West Midlands region.

What has been your career journey progression with the NHS?

I am fortunate to have worked across a range of different types of organisations during my career. The healthcare system is huge and complex, and for me it was very important to understand the bigger picture and how these separate parts of the system connect and need to work together.

My early career was spent working as a hospital general manager across medical and surgical specialties. It is here I really learned how hospitals tick, the logistics behind how services work and are managed and where I developed further experience of working directly with clinical teams to make changes to services to improve the experience and care we provide to patients.

Keen to learn more about healthcare outside the four walls of a hospital, I secured a position at the Primary Care Trust where I spent my final placement leading acute commissioning eventually culminating in heading up commissioning strategy. It is here I had the opportunity to work directly with GPs and primary care professionals. I developed and implemented plans to re-engineer services across a whole health economy system and worked closely with Public Health teams to think through where we need to re-develop services and prioritise our investment to better meet the changing needs of the local population over the next five to ten years.

This was followed by a move back into the acute sector where I headed up strategy and planning for a hospital trust. This included managing the acquisition of another organisation to the Trust, leading the development of the Trust’s long-term strategy as a provider of integrated care and working with teams at all levels to put in place plans to deliver those ambitions. Building on this experience, I have now moved to London as Head of Planning and Strategy for Barts Health NHS Trust, the largest NHS Trust in England.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about joining the scheme?

The NHS management training scheme is a fantastic opportunity and one that I feel privileged to have experienced, as it introduced me to an organisation I am incredibly proud to be part of and a fulfilling career.

The health service faces many challenges and the NHS needs the right people with the right skills, motivations and passion to help improve how we deliver care for people. My advice would be to soak up as much as you can, seize every opportunity, be inquisitive, don’t neglect the relationships you build and remember that enthusiasm and dedication is infectious.

What has been your defining moment so far working for the NHS?

I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in lots of exciting, meaty and challenging pieces of work and there is still much more to do. This is part of the appeal of working in the NHS, as no day is the same.

In amongst that, the things that really stick with me are those times we are able to help an individual fix a problem which to them is significant and important, so be it a phone call from a patient thanking you for sorting out an issue or an email from a consultant saying thanks for sticking with a problem and working with them to fix it. These things help reinforce why we are here and that we are here to help.