• CFO leaves after 11 years in the NHS to join Westminster Abbey
  • NHS England and NHS Improvement will advertise for a joint chief financial officer

Paul Baumann, NHS England’s chief finance officer, is leaving the NHS after 11 years to become receiver general of Westminster Abbey.

The organisations announced the news today, and said Mr Baumann had agreed to delay confirming a start date for his new role until the long-term NHS financial settlement was confirmed this week.

It comes as NHS England and NHS Improvement are due to move to a single shared chief financial officer in coming months.

NHS England said they would “shortly be advertising for a joint chief financial officer across both organisations”. Elizabeth O’Mahony is currently chief financial officer of NHS Improvement.

Mr Baumann said: “It has been a privilege to work in the NHS, both in London and nationally. This has been a time of exceptional challenge for the service, and I am deeply grateful for the commitment and professionalism of colleagues across the NHS and within NHS England who have worked so hard to secure the best possible value – for patients and for taxpayers – with the public money under our stewardship.

“With a long-term financial settlement now in place, I wish the NHS well as it moves forward from its 70th birthday to the next phase of its distinguished history of constant innovation and dedicated service.”

Referring to the imminent move to combining of roles and teams across NHS England  Improvement, including the CFO, he said: ”The creation of a single leadership team for the NHS nationally will help the service capture the many opportunities which lie ahead, and I wish my successor every success as I move onto my next challenge.

“Like the NHS, Westminster Abbey occupies a unique position at the centre of our national life, and I am delighted to be taking up the role of receiver general at a time when the Abbey has unprecedented opportunities to build on its 750 year legacy of excellence in ministry and service.”

The role of receiver general and chapter clerk is the most senior lay position in the abbey, and is similar to its chief executive, leading its senior management team.

Mr Baumann joined NHS London from outside of the NHS in May 2007, and took up his current position in May 2012, when the NHS Commissioning Board, now known as NHS England, was created. As well as running finance, he has led the organisation’s specialised commissioning functions, and overseen health and social care devolution. 

A statement said: “Paul has managed the NHS finances during one of the most financially challenging periods in its history, and during this time he has also provided leadership to a number of wider programmes, including specialised commissioning and devolution to Greater Manchester, London and Surrey.”

NHS England chief Simon Stevens said: “Paul has done a sterling job in the wider NHS for 11 years and at NHS England since it was founded. As we approach the 70th anniversary of the NHS, Paul has done far more than just help steady the ship during a period of intense funding pressure. He has helped drive major gains for patients and taxpayers…

“Looking to the future and the closer working of NHS England and NHS Improvement, we will shortly be advertising for a joint chief financial officer across both organisations.”

NHS England and the NHS commissioning system which it oversees has seen substantial financial problems in recent years, including many clinical commissioning groups overspending and major strains in specialised budgets, but has underspent overall.