NHS boss Simon Stevens to give up Leeds for London

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens

NHS boss Simon Stevens (above) has provided assurances he will attend weekly meetings with wellness secretary, Jeremy Hunt Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

The NHS’s new boss ideas to base himself in London, rather than at the organisation’s headquarters in Leeds, to give himself regular access to ministers and important nationwide wellness bodies.

Simon Stevens, who commences as chief executive of NHS England on Tuesday, intends to commit far more time in the capital than his predecessor, Sir David Nicholson.

Stevens was an adviser on health policy to Labour overall health secretaries Frank Dobson and Alan Milburn amongst 1997 and 2001, then moved to Downing Street to function with Tony Blair but left in 2004 when he joined UnitedHealth, a huge private overall health firm in the US.

Despite his background in Labour politics – Stevens was after a nearby councillor in Lambeth, south London – he was observed by David Cameron as the outstanding candidate to replace Nicholson. Jeremy Hunt, the wellness secretary, ratified his appointment, but only soon after he received assurances that Stevens would attend Monday midday briefings in London at which Hunt meets senior NHS staff.

Constructing perform is beneath way at Skipton Property, 1 of NHS England’s two bases in London, to create offices for Stevens and some of the £95.6bn organisation’s nationwide directors, like Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, its national medical director. Stevens, though, will still spend time in Leeds, exactly where many of the 6,000 administrative workers are based.

The organisation’s media crew, primarily based in Leeds, are also due to move to London, exactly where it only has a modest number of press officers regardless of the concentration of media in the capital.

NHS England was produced on one April last 12 months under the coalition’s NHS reorganisation as a supposedly independent body in charge of the day-to-day operating of the health support. Stevens is keen for it to increase its picture and make a lot more of a mark nationally.

At the Commissioning Live occasion this week, Nicholson explained the organisation deserved just “5 out of ten” for its very first-yr overall performance, and that commissioning of well being solutions, its key function, had been a particular weakness.

Stevens’ arrival has currently led to some modifications at the best of NHS England. Bill McCarthy, its policy director, and Jo-Anne Wass, the director of human sources, are leaving. Karen Wheeler, a senior Department of Wellness civil servant, is joining as its director for transformation and corporate operations. Other departures and arrivals are very likely.

Stevens is preparing to make his initial public statement in the course of a check out to an NHS facility in the north-east on Tuesday.

His ideas to attend the regular Monday meetings with Hunt contrast with Nicholson, who attended the initial couple of sessions when Hunt instituted them in autumn 2012, but then shunned them.

It is understood that Hunt sought, and obtained, assurances from Stevens that he would regularly attend what the DoH calls its NHS delivery meeting, before ratifying his appointment.

An NHS England spokeswoman mentioned: “Simon Stevens has not but taken up post as NHS England chief executive but he hopes to work with all NHS England’s essential partners, such as of course health ministers and parliament.”

Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of National Voices, an umbrella group representing scores of well being charities, mentioned Stevens needed to use his position to oversee a major enhance to the availability of non-hospital-primarily based health services.

“The greatest challenge dealing with wellness and social care is to generate a 24/seven out-of-hospital services that supports the growing amount of men and women with chronic health problems, frailty and disability to dwell as well as achievable. We all know this, and everybody has been saying it for years, but we haven’t noticed a concerted drive to make it take place”, Taylor said.

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