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Steve Field appointed to NHS Commissioning Board

Steve Field and Keith Willett have been appointed to senior positions on the NHS Commissioning Board, HSJ has been told.

Professor Field, a GP, has been appointed as the deputy national medical director, with responsibililty for inequalities. He has been prominent as chair of the government’s NHS Future Forum review and a supporter of greater involvement of GPs in commissioning. He is immediate past chair of the Royal College of GPs, and much of his career has focused on health inequalities.

He is chair for the DH’s National Inclusion Health Board, which aims to “improve the health of the most vulnerable”, and he practices in Birmingham. Professor Field was also postgraduate dean for NHS West Midlands.

The board will have a duty to reduce health inequalities.

Meanwhile, Professor Willett has been appointed as the board’s director responsible for acute and emergency care, covering domain three of the NHS Outcomes Framework - “helping people to recover from episodes of ill health or following injury”.

He has been the national clinical director for trauma care since 2009 and led work which has developed trauma networks and led to redesign of services.

Professor Willett is professor of orthopaedic trauma surgery at Oxford University and an honorary consultant orthopaedic trauma surgeon at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

The appointments are expected to be announced imminently.

The board has not yet appointed to the post of its second deputy medical director, who will also be a GP. The postholder will be responsible for tasks including specialised commissioning and medical revalidation and probably the most visible national GP official.

HSJ understands the post will imminently be re-advertised, inviting applications from inside and outside the current commissioning system.

Readers' comments (11)

  • Y'know how in those police procedurals, a handful of characters seem to end up doing a whole department's work...

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  • Another job for the boys.... The post was advertised in the NHS jobs last week under Director of Equalities and Health Inequalites then removed the following day. What a mess... Wonder what happend to that post maybe Equalites is no longer a priority for the DH and NHS but then again was it ever?

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  • Hi Dave,
    Please help me with this.
    As a GP, when I employ even a junior receptionist, I have to follow a strict protocol of advertising, long-listing, short-listing and interviewing in order to avoid legitimate accusations of various -isms, or even being taken to court.
    To your knowledge, has the Department of Health / NCB followed the same procedure with these two appointment?

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  • Hello Kosta,
    The difference is (I'm assuming) you don't run a mega practice with say 100 surgeries and 1000s of staff, and then decide to close down half of them, which would mean according to HR best practice and some employment law, that you'd have to offer existing employees suitable alternatives to redundancy.
    The NCB recruitment process is set out here
    and what I suspect has happened is that the post is deemed different from existing NHS posts in the "old" system (probably by some sort of point scoring thing) so a limited field of people could apply in the first round, e.g. regional DPHs. You can't go down to ex PCT DPHs because that's a different risk pool.
    Think of it in levels. I think they got one layer down from the completely external/ open ad level, otherwise you'd have seen it in the BMJ.
    I'm not defending one individual over another, I'm just saying that there is a process. And that because of the timelines, it's speeding up.

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  • Dave West

    Hi Kosta - there are some more details here, too -

    I think there is much internal-only advertisement going on for NHSCB posts.

    Prof Field does still have a substantive post with NHS West Midlands, so would have been eligible in some of the internal rounds.

    I believe Prof Willett would not have been eligible internally, as most of the national clinical directors were not, so that should potentially have been advertised more prominently.

    The NHSCB has said it intends to advertise for the remaining major medical post, of the other deputy medical director.


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  • Dave West

    Tom Easterling, the commissioning board's programme director, people transition, has responded via email:

    "A process had been agreed across the system for filling posts (‘Filling of posts in receiving organisations’) and we followed this process when making these appointments.

    "In summary, posts are initially made available for ring-fenced competition where people who are at risk can apply. Posts only go to open competition if they remain unfilled.

    "Steve Field was appointed through ring-fenced competition. Keith Willett was appointed through open competition as the post (domain lead 3 director) was not filled at the ring-fenced competition stage."

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  • So Dave, if it was open competition, the Keith Willett post was advertised where and for how long?

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  • Anon 12.04, here
    and yes, some posts are on for a very short space of time, which is why many of us didn't go on a/l in August and carry our BBs everywhere......

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  • Please can I be transported to another universe for the next two years and come back just in time for the next round of changes. ...
    I dont want to play anymore !!

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  • You know, a surprising number of people are doing just that. Leaving, doing something else health related, and thinking about coming back in a few years with new skills and feeling a lot less tired once the dust has settled. I have. But when I said I was looking to come back one day, my former CEO looked at me like I was mad. He thinks I shouldn't, especially as I've got the choice. I found that sad, the view that only those staying are those who've got no other options. I know that's probably the reality for many, but it hardly makes for a happy healthy workforce.

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  • Please can I be transported to another universe for the next two years and come back just in time for the next round of changes. ...
    I dont want to play anymore !!

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