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Nicholson to head up new commissioning board

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson has unexpectedly been handed the key task of heading up the Government's new NHS Commissioning Board.

Sir David had been expected to leave the NHS at the end of his five year term as chief executive later this year, but will instead be charged with heading up the new board, which will oversee GP consortia's management of £80bn of the NHS budget from 2013.

The surprise appointment is rumoured to have been driven by growing concerns from within Government and professional bodies that pushing through the biggest power shift in the NHS's history at a time of such financial crisis was a huge risk, with Sir David seen as safe pair of hands to help ease the strain of the transition service.

The board will play a pivotal role in driving forward the Government's commissioning agenda, with its responsibilities including intervening in the event of GP consortia failure or risk of failure, holding consortia to account for improving outcomes, financial management, and holding GP practice contracts.

Sir David Nicholson