NHS England chair Sir Malcolm Grant appears determined to break the mould when it comes to the appointment of the organisation’s new chief executive.

He was canny enough not to rule out the selection of another senior NHS manager, but it is very clear from his interview with HSJ that he would prefer to avoid that outcome.

Sir Malcolm rightly sees the appointment as a seminal moment. Select another NHS system manager, however credible, and the assumption will be that NHS England is simply replacing the Department of Health as the service’s headquarters.

Not choosing one of the “usual suspects” would be the most powerful way to say, “Things have changed.”

However, the idea that Jeremy Hunt or the prime minister would take a risk on a leader with no “NHS or health related experience” is intriguing – as is the idea of a world class manager from another sector or another country accepting the constrained terms and conditions on offer. 

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