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Ian Dalton quits NHS Commissioning Board for BT

Ian Dalton, the NHS Commissioning Board’s deputy chief executive, is leaving the organisation to join BT Global Health.

Mr Dalton will become the company’s president of global health.

Mr Dalton was named chief operating officer and deputy chief executive of the Commissioning Board only last year. The organisation is due to take on its full powers, under the government’s reforms, in April.

He has previously worked as chief executive of NHS North of England and of two hospital trusts, and worked on the reconstruction of civilian health services in Iraq.

Mr Dalton said in a statement: “I am excited by my new role with BT, which will allow me to utilise my experience to work with health systems across the world. However, it has been a huge privilege to have contributed to the NHS in so many key roles over the years and to have worked with so many caring and dedicated NHS staff. 

“I have been impressed by the NHS Commissioning Board’s passionate focus on the interests of patients and I am confident it will deliver real improvements for the future. For the next period, my focus will be on delivering what I am sure will be a successful transition for the operations directorate of the NHS Commissioning Board.”

Board chief executive Sir David Nicholson said: I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ian for his significant contribution and dedication to the NHS over many years.  Ian has worked incredibly hard to drive forward better health outcomes for patients. Ian will be missed and I wish Ian all the best in his new role at BT.”

No successor or interim arrangements have yet been announced.

Readers' comments (18)

  • it takes one to sack one!

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  • Is this a good or bad sign?

    Does he know there will be a new CEO shortly? someone who might want his own deputy?

    Or worse maybe he knows David Nicholson is staying?

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  • Hmmmm BT Global Servicea, aren't they the prime contractor for the original Cerner deployment

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  • Rats? Sinking ship?

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  • Wow... conspiracy theories unite. He could just have been offered a shed load of money to utilise his considerable knowledge of how health is changing to steer BT strategy.

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  • Will the last person to leave please switch off the lights.....

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  • That's two NCB board directors gone to private sector before they have even hone live.

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  • One of the really excellent and inspirational leaders. A very sad loss to the NHS.

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  • I doubt it is a case of rats and sinking ships(Anon 31 Jan 7.51pm) More likely to be one of cats and cream. And who of us will cast the first stone??

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  • Goodbye to another DH apparatchnik whose dedication to public service evaporates when there's money on the table. No doubt BT will now win a string of NHS contracts.

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  • We should all be charitable and wish the fellow our best wishes. A loss of experience for the NHS and a gain of NHS knowledge by BT, at a price.
    It does not bode well for the NCB if they can't keep their key leaders -- so maybe the Health Select Committee will want to pick this up and investigate what the problem is. Any replacement at the NCB will hardly have time to get their CRB before go-live day, let alone some experience in tghe role.

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  • I absolutely agree with Angela Lamb above. Ian Dalton was an inspiration and a pleasure to work for.

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  • Perhaps after the collapse of the NHS Commissioning Board we can abandon the costly unsuccessful experiment that is the Purchaser/Provider split?

    What does the Commissioning 'function' add, apart from cost? Scotland and Wales seem to manage without it.

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  • If the Dept of Health/NHS were a FT100 company (as Lord Crisp once surmised) alarm bells would be ringing in the City faced with such a loss of key executives. This is BT's gain but as 10:19 says the Health Select Committee will want to investigate.

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  • In industry, you're not allowed to leave and work for a competitor or if you do, there are strict rules. Do these not apply in the public sector?

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  • I am happy to see a transfer of senior talent between the public sector and industry. The NHS is far too defensive in this respect - not invented here; not trained here; not for us. This attitude shall ultimately be the undoing of us. We should all contemplate how we see our careers - do we work in the NHS or do we work in the health industry? If the former, we shall always struggle because our lack of openess, receptivness will certainly mean that we shall have a preference for perpetuating old ideas; old approaches.
    I agree with an earlier comment - not rats & ships; but cats & cream AND opportunity to do something else; build something and test your own skills against an outside cohort of senior managers.
    I know ID well. He is very principled, very focused and a good leader and colleague. I dont always agree with him, but thats how teams produce the best results - the dynamic tension of discussion, debate & decision.
    However, the big issue for DN is who to succeed and assume IDs duties? A question at the moment to which there isnt an obvious answer. Mark me well: the future of the NHS is at risk. We all have roles to play in designing & delivering a different service for the future. We should be focusing on that rather than petty sniping at one another. ID - Good Luck.

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  • Anon 10:28 - if you really believe Scotland and Wales are 'managing' then I suggest you go experience their healthcare provision... free prescriptions a competent and comprehensive healthcare system does not make!

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  • 8:28 - couldn't agree more.

    Sadly thinking around the NHS vs health industry won't change. If it did the cosy "NHS experience essential" would need to be banished from all of the senior JDs at recruiting time, and that would never do.

    Much better to pay lip service to the value of experience from industry whilst keeping all those nasty private sector folk away from our cosy "closed shop".

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