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Amanda Pritchard to replace Simon Stevens as NHS England chief


BMA urgent meeting Amanda Pritchard NHSE GP fallout


Amanda Pritchard is set to replace Sir Simon Stevens as the chief executive of NHS England at the end of this week.

Ms Pritchard, who has been chief operating officer of NHSE and chief executive of NHS Improvement since 2019, was appointed today (28 July) as Sir Stevens’ successor by the NHSE board.

Having joined the NHS in 1997 through the management training scheme, Ms Pritchard has held a variety of positions in the health services, including seven years as head of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

She also served as health team leader in the Cabinet Office’s delivery unit under Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Sir Stevens first announced in April that he would step down from the post he has held since 2014.

At the time, NHSE’s board has said it aimed to find a replacement by 31 July, which is still set to be his last day in the job.

The new appointment was made jointly by the NHSE board and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), but with input from 10 Downing Street.

In June, Baroness Dido Harding, the Conservative peer at the helm of the £37bn test-and-trace programme, briefed a Sunday newspaper about her own application for the role.

During this briefing, she said she would end the NHS’s reliance on foreign doctors and nurses which was met with criticism from many leaders in the sector, including the BMA.

It was reported shortly after that Sajid Javid had ruled out the possibility.

Commenting on her appointment, Ms Pritchard said she was ‘honoured to lead the NHS, and ‘particularly as the first woman chief executive of an organisation whose staff are more than three quarters female’.

She added: ‘There are big challenges ahead as NHS staff continue to deal with significant pressures while maintaining the roll-out of the hugely successful NHS vaccination programme and tackle backlogs that have inevitably built up in the face of rising Covid infections.

‘However the skill, determination and “can do” spirit that NHS staff have shown in the face of the greatest challenge in the health service’s history means we face the future with confidence.’

BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul welcomed the news of the first woman to lead the NHS, and praised Ms Pritchard’s long experience of working for the NHS.

But he added that her appointment comes at a ‘pivotal moment’, when the NHS has the ‘biggest backlog’ of care it ‘has ever seen’, and listed her immediate urgent priorities as sorting out the ‘workforce crisis’ and related NHS capacity pressures, as well as inequality within the workforce.

He concluded: ‘We want to be confident that Ms Pritchard is willing to stand up to Government when needed, and that she is on the side of hard-working healthcare professionals who have gone unheard and underappreciated for too long.

‘We hope that Ms Pritchard will be able to provide the health service with the decisive leadership and commitment to investment it needs at this critical juncture. We look forward to working with her constructively in the coming weeks and months.’

A version of this article was first published by Pulse’s sister title Healthcare Leader

READERS' COMMENTS [7]

John Graham Munro 28 July, 2021 5:49 pm

All Simon Stevens seemed to do was stand around in his shirtsleeves at photo opportunities

David Turner 28 July, 2021 6:40 pm

As of 2020, Stevens was paid a salary of between £195,000 and £199,000 by NHS England and each year he has opted for a voluntary £20,000 pay cut.

…….nice work if you can get it though!

Sam Macphie 28 July, 2021 8:04 pm

I do not remember this beknighted Chief Executive of NHSE, Sir Simon Stevens, giving many informative interviews to camera or explanations to the nation during the existensial covid pandemic, even though he is still responsible to the government, until 31 July, for the many billions of pounds of spending and the day-to-day running of NHSE. With staff ill-equipped at the start, unusable ppe, many self-isolating, not enough services or staff, over 5 Million patients on waiting lists to name but a few things, what has he done that is worthy of praise, a knighthood, his very high salary, a Lordship even? Does anyone know? Could the NHS have run itself in many ways, day-to-day?
Also, I seem to remember his appearances in the media: shirtsleeves photo opportunities.

Sujoy Biswas 28 July, 2021 9:28 pm

A true dyed in the wool NHSite form day 1 I see. No real world or private sector experience. This CEO will fit right into the rinks of the not really accountable.

Vinci Ho 29 July, 2021 12:24 am

ds of gentle reminder, my dear Amanda :
(1) Apart from the obvious challenges in NHS well reported in most media , you are going to be working under a presumably reformed Health and Social Care Bill which entails two main parts . The termination of section 75, engineered by Mr Javid’s predecessor, is an official U-turn of the original legislation forged by the coalition government under an infamous brotherhood of a Tory prime minister and his Liberal Democrat deputy . APMS GP contracts repeatedly won by over-ambitious private companies were doomed to fail . Mandatory procurement pathways were entirely inflexible and technocratic as far as CCGs are concerned. Ultimately, renouncing the act is merely another ‘return to default ‘ by a government, wasting resources through its implementation.
(2) What is more of a concern is , in fact , the second part written by your own predecessor and boss . In his final days as Chief Executive , Simon said : let’s put everything together under ‘integration’ . So a Rosemary’s baby called Integrared Care System(ICS) was born . This new humongous infant is to be growing up fast and furious against a backdrop where the new version of the Bill bestows on Health Secretary the full power( not necessarily authority) on all businesses in NHS . The anticipated centralisation of power in the expense of local voices is egregious and unhealthy in a health service stretched beyond its limits by a historic pandemic.
For those who have been around long enough , the feeling is one of those going around in full circle with memories like strategic health authorities, for instance. To start with , I am yet to come across anyone who has the slightest clue of what and how ICS is going to work ?
It begs the simple question : do we seriously need this at a time like this ?
(3) Rhetoric is such a convenient tool used by you guys to avoid facing the reality and ‘bloodsheds’ at the frontline . No wonder how often our colleagues wanted to pushback with critical words like ‘out of touch’ , ‘ivory tower’ , ‘disjointed’ etc . Morale was low way before Covid 19 and of course , I would have to mention the recruitment and retention crisis of GPs as well as our nursing , mental health colleagues . The junior doctors industrial action under the watch of our longest serving Health Secretary epitomised the loss of connect between the top and the bottom in the system . And I need not remind you the currently imminent threat of industrial action coming from our nurse colleagues .

I am not expecting you to pay much attention to an old moaning GP veteran but presenting you this famous quote from one of the four ancient Chinese literatures(The Four Books) , The Great Learning :

‘All matters have their origin and end . All incidents have their beginning and finishing . If one knows the order of sequence , he/she is not far from the way of the great learning.’
物有本末,事有始終。
知所先後,則近道已。

Surely , thou shall not put the cart in front of the horse ……..

Vinci Ho 29 July, 2021 12:25 am

Correction :
Words of gentle reminder

David Mummery 29 July, 2021 9:18 pm

Good luck Amanda!