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QIPP chief set for private sector role

The Department of Health’s national leader of the QIPP programme, Jim Easton, has been approached for a senior post at private healthcare provider Care UK.

Mr Easton became one of the most senior figures in the NHS when he was made national director for improvement and efficiency in 2009.

In 2010 he caused uproar when he backed proposals for  GP patient appointments to be handled by national or regional call centres rather than by GP receptionists. The plan was later shelved.

Mr Easton’s move is likely to prove controversial as Care UK is one of the most prominent independent providers that is vying for NHS contracts.

An NHS Commissioning Board spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm that Jim Easton has been approached about a job opportunity by an organisation in the independent health sector.

‘Because this would be an outside appointment, it is subject to approval in line with the business appointment rules for senior Department of Health staff moving to new roles in the independent sector,’ the spokesperson said.

A Care UK spokesperson confirmed the company had had inital discussions with Mr Easton.