A NHS England sub-region directors is leaving to join private health firm Optum, while another of the posts has been filled by a former primary care trust chief executive.

David Sharp is to join the firm, a division of the global health insurance firm UnitedHealth, next month. He had been appointed to lead NHS England’s central midlands sub-region as its director of commissioning operations, and was previously the organisation’s local area director for Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.


David Sharp will work on a combination of UK and international projects for Optum

He is expected to work on a combination of UK and international projects for Optum.

Mr Sharp said in an email to colleagues: “It is rare in life that you get to choose between a job you already have and like and an even better one, so I am obviously excited.

“I think that work being done by colleagues in NHS England to build clinically driven decision making, build a system fit for five years hence and deliver some of the world’s most demanding targets today at the same time, means that NHS England leaders are looked to by so many for answers to complex health and social care problems.”

A large number of area directors have left over the past year. Mr Sharp’s interim replacement in the central midlands sub-region will be Trish Thompson, who is currently its director of operations and delivery.

Meanwhile, NHS England has appointed Tim Rideout to the lead role of director of commissioning operations for its Cumbria and North East sub-region. He replaces Cameron Ward, who has left the organisation.

Mr Rideout was chief executive of several primary care trusts in the East Midlands, including Leicester City PCT until 2010. Following a short time working at the Department of Health, he has been working independently as a management consultant.

In 2012 he wrote a controversial report that criticised proposals for major reconfiguration in north west London.

NHS England is in the process of reorganising its regional and local structures, including replacing its 27 area teams with 15 sub-regional teams, which will work more closely with each other and with its regional teams.

The new structure will formally begin on 1 April but many new roles have already been filled.