Rob Aitchison

General Management Scheme

Assistant Director (Commissioning & Partnerships), Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS

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

I was on the General Management scheme. I joined in September 2007 and left in July 2009.

What has been your career journey progression with the NHS?

Having not worked in the NHS before, I was able to get good experience from varied placements whilst on the scheme – working initially as a business manager to operating services, anaesthetics and critical care at Harrogate and District Foundation Trust. I was lucky enough to undertake an 8-week placement within the Commissioning team at the Department of Health before going onto a final placement with Calderdale Primary Care Trust.

My first role off the scheme was as an assistant general manager within the Surgery Division at my local acute trust – Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust. In 2010, I was appointed as General Manager for operating services, anaesthetics and critical care at the same Trust. Following this, in 2012 I was successful in being promoted to the role of assistant director responsible for supporting the development of commissioning and partnerships at the Trust. At the moment I’m just about to take up a new role working as the Assistant Divisional Director for Families and Specialist Services at the same Trust.

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

Believe the hype – from my experience the NHS approach really is to push you as fast and as far as you want to go. You will have a great network of people around you who want to support you to develop as much as possible. There are often times when you will really need this as it’s tougher than ever in the NHS, however, it genuinely is very rewarding.

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

My work during the last three years has been amongst the most challenging and interesting. A key part of this has been to develop relationships and new models of care with external partners and our service commissioners – the nature of this works means no two days are ever the same. Seeing the impact these services are having for our patients is fantastic.