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Sir Hugh Taylor resigns from DH

Department of Health permanent secretary Sir Hugh Taylor has told colleagues he is leaving the department to take up the role of chair of Guy’s and St Thomas’s Foundation Trust.

Sir Hugh was made permanent secretary at the DH in 2006 after a period as acting permanent secretary following the departure of Sir Nigel Crisp.

Under Sir Nigel the role of permanent secretary had been combined with the role of NHS chief executive. But the furore created by the implementation of the commissioning a patient-led NHS policy led to criticisms of the combined role and the two posts were eventually split.

Sir Nigel had penned a letter to primary care trusts instructing them to “divest” themselves of their provider arms. The instruction created controversial headlines the department was “privatising” community services. At the time, ministers denied that was their intention, although by the end of the last government it was their stated preferred option.

The policy has now come full circle with yesterday’s revised NHS operating framework confirming PCTs must divest themselves “by April 2011”.

Before taking up the permanent secretary role, Sir Hugh was the department’s strategy and business development group director. He previously held senior management roles in the prison service, the cabinet office and was director for NHS workforce in the NHS executive.

Readers' comments (8)

  • I don't think that is the official story of the downfall of Nigel Crisp from favour, it was more related to the NHS overspend when the DH had spent the NHS's money on national agreements which they were then bound to and it was John Bacon as Operations Director that sent the letter out telling the NHS to divest themselves of provider arms in record breaking time - as I remember it at least.

    Also your semantics suggest that providers arms are being privatised not divested...

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Yes. History does seem to get rewritten. Crisp was widely regarded as ineffective although the current post holder appears to have delivered even less. Those who have seen, experienced and worked for both regimes will understand.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • I thought that there was some rule that prevented senior civil servants from resigning and then immediately taking up a post in an organisation directly linked to the department of state in which they served. Perhaps this does not apply to Foundation Trusts! As a matter of principle Is it really appropriate for the most senior civil servant in the Department to go straight to such a high profile NHS post

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • I don't think that is the official story of the downfall of Nigel Crisp from favour, it was more related to the NHS overspend when the DH had spent the NHS's money on national agreements which they were then bound to and it was John Bacon as Operations Director that sent the letter out telling the NHS to divest themselves of provider arms in record breaking time - as I remember it at least.

    Also your semantics suggest that providers arms are being privatised not divested...

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • It is a shame that HSJ only sees fit to describe the legacy that Hugh took over, rather than his achievements as Permaent Secretary, and that Readers have continued in a similar vein, criticising actions that are the role of the NHS Chief Executive, firstly Ian Carruthers and then David Nicholson, after Nigel Crisp's abrupt resignation. Hugh strove to maintain decency, humanity and fairness in a Department that was not known for those qualities. He should be congratulated for all he did for DH staff. His future role will have been approved by the Cabinet Office and Guy's and St Thomas' are lucky to get such a thoughtful and caring Chair.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Signed CS ?. [or one of his NHS mates... I did the google]

    There was a suttle difference between Nigel and him ie. being a career CS one would guess without a Google. The issue I think that the DH had was when the NHS Exec moved into it and took over. That is when the quality of the DH went down in my view as they filled the key management posts with their mates. Quality managers are thin on the ground in the NHS least at the higher level.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • I do hope that we return to a time when Lord and Sir was afforded to those who contributed to the success of the NHS

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • It is a shame that HSJ only sees fit to describe the legacy that Hugh took over, rather than his achievements as Permaent Secretary, and that Readers have continued in a similar vein, criticising actions that are the role of the NHS Chief Executive, firstly Ian Carruthers and then David Nicholson, after Nigel Crisp's abrupt resignation. Hugh strove to maintain decency, humanity and fairness in a Department that was not known for those qualities. He should be congratulated for all he did for DH staff. His future role will have been approved by the Cabinet Office and Guy's and St Thomas' are lucky to get such a thoughtful and caring Chair.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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