NHS England Chief Sir Simon Stevens Stepping Down, Joining Lords

Priscilla Lynch 

April 30, 2021

Sir Simon Stevens will stand down at the end of July, after more than 7 years as NHS England's Chief Executive. He'll be joining the House of Lords after being given a life peerage.

Credit: PA Media

Sir Simon took up post in April 2014, having first joined the NHS in 1988 through its graduate management programme. In a varied career before his Chief Executive role, he worked in frontline NHS services and in international health care, in both the public and private sectors, and at 10 Downing Street and the Department of Health.

Having confidentially notified the NHS England Board last year of his intended departure this summer, they will now – as set out in legislation – lead the open competitive recruitment process for Sir Simon’s successor, and the post will be advertised shortly. The appointment of the Board’s chosen candidate is then subject to ratification by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

The aim is to have a successor appointed before Sir Simon steps down on 31 July, during which time he will continue to lead the NHS and oversee completion of NHS England’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout to all adults.

'Independent-minded Leadership'

High level tributes have been paid to Sir Simon's leadership.

Dame Claire Gerada, GP and co-chair of the NHS Assembly, said: “The NHS has been through great turmoil, not just during the pandemic but in the lean years before. It is down to Simon’s brave and independent-minded leadership that we have got through these difficult times and that the NHS is in good shape.”

Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “Sir Simon has been an amazing asset to the NHS and the UK in his role as CEO. His leadership, in particular during the pandemic, has modernised the NHS, brought much needed investment and undoubtedly saved many lives.”

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers said: "Simon has been an exceptional chief executive at a time of huge challenge for the NHS. He’s led the service through the worst global pandemic in a century, including creating a world beating vaccination programme. 
"He’s set out a clear, universally supported, future strategy to integrate health and social care and improve health outcomes in key areas. And he’s been a highly effective champion for the NHS inside Government in areas such as securing extra NHS funding." 

Richard Murray, chief executive of The King’s Fund, said: "His work will have a significant and long-lasting impact on the NHS and the people it serves."

Dr Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the Health Foundation said he's given "highly competent management of the biggest challenge it has ever faced – the pandemic – all crowned with the successful vaccine roll out".

She added: "Simon's departure comes at a crucial point for the NHS as it grapples with ongoing demands due to the pandemic, unprecedented waiting lists, exhausted staff and how to make progress towards the improvements in the NHS Long Term Plan. It is also a time of opportunity, to harness technology and new ways of delivering care to improve access, quality and productivity, as well as the deep commitment and professionalism of its staff. These are just some of the items at the top of the new chief executive’s in-tray."

This article was adapted from Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.



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