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NHS London hit by two senior resignations in Lansley protest

By Lilian Anekwe

The UK's largest SHA is in turmoil as two senior members of the organisation quit - with others expected to follow - after the new Government scrapped the SHA's plans to dramatically reshape the landscape of primary and secondary care.

NHS London chairman Sir Richard Sykes has resigned yesterday and late last night it emerged that Gerry Acher a non-executive director had also resigned.

Sir Richard had been chairman of NHS London since 2008 and said he resigned because his views bore 'little in common' with health secretary Andrew Lansley.

Mr Lansley announced an immediate halt to the review of healthcare in the capital last week. Other members of the NHS London board are said to be also considering their positions, and chief executive Ruth Carnall has admitted scrapping the plans will leave the SHA – the country's largest – with a £5bn black hole.

The review by NHS London, the evidence for which was finally revealed in an analysis by US consultancy firm McKinsey last week, included possible closures of accident and emergency departments and a shift of up to 60% of secondary care work from hospitals and into the community.

Pulse revealed prior to the election that Andrew Lansley planned to halt the progress of changed based on the Darzi review including calling a halt to the rollout of polyclinics.

Sir Richard Sykes' resignation letter, written after meeting Mr Lansley, says the new health secretary had outlined a 'very different prospectus' for the NHS, compared with NHS London.

'I have reflected on what you said, and concluded that our visions of healthcare delivery bear so little in common that it would make no sense for me to continue in this role,' he wrote.

A spokesperson for NHS London said: ‘The Secretary of State has made clear that he wishes the SHA to provide different leadership and direction to the NHS in London and so Sir Richard has decided to step down.'

Ms Carnall said: ‘Sir Richard played an important part in building a more integrated NHS in the capital. These closer relationships will be vital as we work over the next two years to meet the new challenges for the NHS, outlined by the new Secretary of State last week. It is my intention to work with colleagues and clinicians in the NHS in London to find the best way of responding to this new challenge.'

Resignation letter from Sir Richard Sykes Read the full resignation letter

Read the full letter here.

NHS London's chairman has resigned in protest after the health secretary outlined a 'very different prospectus' for the NHS NHS London's chairman has resigned in protest after the health secretary outlined a 'very different prospectus' for the NHS