ECONOMY

Sir Simon Stevens to stand down as NHS boss in the summer

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ir Simon Stevens is to be appointed to the House of Lords after announcing that he plans to quit his position as NHS England chief executive in the summer, No 10 has announced.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the outgoing health chief had “led the NHS with great distinction for the past seven years”.

NHS England said Sir Simon on Thursday notified the organisation’s board of his decision to stand down “as planned” at the end of July.

In a separate announcement, Downing Street said the Queen had been pleased to confer a life peerage on Sir Simon following his decision.

He will sit as a crossbencher, according to an NHS England spokesman.

In a statement, Sir Simon said: “Joining the health service in my early twenties 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.

“The people of this country have rightly recognised the extraordinary service of NHS staff during this terrible pandemic, as well as the success of our Covid vaccination deployment.

“As the pandemic recedes in this country, the NHS’s track record in advancing medical progress in a way that works for everyone rightly continues to inspire young people to join one of the greatest causes – health and high quality care for all, now and for future generations.”

Mr Johnson issued his thanks for Sir Simon’s “dedicated service … especially when facing the extraordinary pressures of the past year, and for his huge contribution to our vaccine rollout”.

The health boss is understood to have alerted Lord Prior, chairman of NHS England, last summer about his intention to step down but wanted to see through the coronavirus vaccination programme.

Following the announcement, Lord Prior said the country owed Sir Simon a “huge debt of gratitude”.

Sir Simon Stevens pictured in March receiving his coronavirus vaccine / PA Wire

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and his predecessor Jeremy Hunt were among those who paid tribute to Sir Simon’s work during his time as NHS England chief.

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