Sir Simon Stevens to stand down as head of NHS England
Chief Executive of NHS England Sir Simon Stevens is to step down from his role in July, he has confirmed in a message to staff this afternoon. Sir Steven has held the important role for seven years, first starting on 1st April 2014, and has overseen the NHS’s management through various challenges. These included Government austerity measures which affected the service’s spending, and the current hurdles faced by COVID-19 and the treatment backlog.
Key milestones in Sir Simon’s leadership have included the publication of the Five Year Forward View in 2014, the current five-year funding deal and associated NHS Long-Term Plan in 2018-19, the merger with NHS Improvement and overhaul of their leadership, and responding to the coronavirus pandemic. According to NHS circles, Sir Steven will be taking a break from working for a period of time and does not have a new position confirmed at this stage.
Sir Steven started his NHS career on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme at Shotley Bridge General Hospital, the largest employer in Consett, County Durham, after the closure of the steel works. He would eventually became the most influential person in UK health, according to the Health Service Journal’s ranking and hold a position regarded to be the fourth most powerful role in the UK.
Regarding his career, Stevens said: “Joining the health service in my early 20s was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, followed three decades later by the privilege of leading the NHS through some of the toughest challenges in its history.”
It has also been announced that Sir Steven will become a member of the House of Lords. Speculation over his potential successors has risen since it was rumoured that Sir Simon was stepping down. According to the Health Service Journal, front-runners of potential successors include Amanda Pritchard, COO of the NHS, Mark Britnell of KPMG, and Sir James Mackey, the chief executive of the Northumbria NHS trust.