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Simon Stevens has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of NHS England, Chairman Professor Sir Malcolm Grant announced.
Simon, who has 26 years’ experience in healthcare management at frontline and national level both in England and internationally, will take over from Sir David Nicholson on 1 April 2014.
The appointment of the new chief executive was made following open competition and a worldwide search. The salary for the post remains the same as that of the current postholder, £211,000. However in the light of NHS spending pressures, Simon has asked to take a voluntary 10% pay cut for the year ahead, so he will instead draw a salary of £189,900.
Announcing the appointment, Sir Malcolm Grant, said: “I am delighted that Simon will be taking on this exceptionally challenging leadership role for the NHS. He has huge experience, both national and global, and across all sectors, and is admired by healthcare professionals across the world for his commitment to the values of the NHS and to the provision of quality healthcare for all.
“He brings a wealth of ideas and unique experience, building on a distinguished career across the NHS, international healthcare and government. I look forward to working closely with him as we lead innovation, change and significant improvement in safety and quality to patients across all areas of the NHS.
“We have been through a rigorous global search, and engaged with a range of excellent candidates. I am confident that Simon Stevens is the right person to lead NHS England through the coming years, bringing new ideas and fresh energy.”
Simon Stevens said: “The next five years are going to be extremely challenging for the NHS, but compassionate high quality care for all is as vital as ever. It will be a privilege to lead NHS England – at a time when the stakes have never been higher – because I believe in the NHS, and because I believe that a broad new partnership of patients, carers, staff and the public can together chart a successful future for our Health Service.”
Secretary of State for Health the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP said: “Simon has an extraordinary reputation in the UK and abroad as a reformer and an innovator, and we are lucky to have someone of his calibre doing such a vital role. He will make a key contribution to the two biggest challenges facing the NHS right now: how to raise standards of care and also be financially sustainable. His passion for our universal health service free at the point of use goes back many years, but he will add international expertise as we face the challenges ahead.”
Professor Don Berwick, the US patient safety expert who earlier this year produced a landmark report into safety in English hospitals, said: “In my opinion, Simon Stevens is a brilliant choice to lead the NHS. He brings a unique combination of skills and experiences, with a worldwide perspective, in executive and political leadership, health care delivery reform, financial stewardship, and quality improvement, and, above all, he has a deep and abiding commitment to excellence in the care of patients and families.
“The challenges the NHS faces today are large, as they are in many nations, but much larger is the potential for the NHS to be a model for the world for the pursuit of health care’s ‘triple aim’: better care for all individuals, better health for populations, and lower cost through continual improvement. Simon is superbly equipped to help the NHS realize that potential.”
Lord Ara Darzi, author of the 2008 report High Quality Care For All, which brought a new focus on care quality and clinical leadership to the NHS, said: “The Board have made a very good decision indeed. NHS England is very fortunate and lucky to have found someone of his calibre who is prepared to take on the role at this difficult time. I am delighted by the appointment – it’s a great appointment for the NHS”.