Amanda Pritchard appointed as new Chief Executive of NHS England

28 July 2021, 17:51

Amanda Pritchard will be the first woman to hold the position
Amanda Pritchard will be the first woman to hold the position. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Amanda Pritchard is to become the new head of the NHS in England.

Ms Pritchard has worked as chief operating officer under outgoing boss Lord Stevens, who finishes his tenure at the end of the week.

"Over the last two years, trust leaders have welcomed Amanda's calm, team oriented, and effective national operational leadership of the NHS through one of the most challenging periods in its history," said chief executive of NHS Providers Chris Hopson.

"She has a deep and strong connection with NHS frontline leaders and staff which will be much needed given the scale of the challenge ahead.

"It is also particularly pleasing to see a female NHS chief executive appointed for the first time in the service's 73-year history."

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Ms Pritchard will take over in the midst of a third wave of Covid-19 and as the NHS faces an unprecedented backlog of care, with more than five million on the waiting list.

She has held a number of key roles across the health service, including running the busy London trust Guy's and St Thomas' and as chief executive of NHS Improvement.

As chief operating officer of NHS England she was in charge of the operational performance of the health service as well as implementation of service transformation and improvements in patient care.

Ms Pritchard joined the NHS through the graduate management training scheme in 1997.

She also served as a health team leader in the Cabinet Office's delivery unit.

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The role of chief executive in the NHS in England was first created in 1985 and it is the first time that a woman has been given the title.

Ms Pritchard will be in charge of the NHS's annual budget of almost £150 billion and the service's 1.2 million staff.

Tory peer Dido Harding applied for the job, as did KPMG's Mark Britnell.

NHS England announced in April that current chief executive Lord Stevens was to stand down "as planned" at the end of July.

According to the NHS England annual report for 2019/20, the chief executive salary was between £195,000 and £200,000.

The report stated that Lord Stevens had, during that year, voluntarily taken a £20,000 per annum pay cut for the sixth year in a row.

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Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: "[Ms Pritchard] will hit the ground running when Lord Stevens leaves.

"This role is arguably the most significant across the entire public sector and with a new Secretary of State getting up to speed, this continuity at the top of the NHS will be vital."