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NHS England appoints ex-Blair advisor to replace Nicholson

Simon Stevens has recently worked for US health giant UnitedHealth

HSJ’s take on the new man taking on England’s top health job

Read seven years’ worth of columns Stevens wrote for HSJ

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10.33pm Reaction from the chair of Psychological Medicine and Co Director of King’s Centre for Military Health Research, King’s College. @WesselyS says: “Simon Stevens new head NHS England. Remember him from time in UK. Smart fella, “gets” mental health. Fingers crossed.”

10.28pm Another man who was seen as a possible contender for the NHS England top job, @ciarancevane, has offered his reaction: “Very pleased to see the response to Simon Stephens appointment as CEO of @NHSEngland - presuming @hsjnews has got it right of course :-)” We have, Ciaran.

10.16pm More reaction. Andy Cowper tweets: “Agree wholly with @HSJeditor that Simon Stevens’ appointment increases chances of a good outcome for the NHS, but it will still be very hard.”

And Stephen Thornton, @Thornton_health, adds: “If rumours are true and Simon Stevens is the new NHS England CEO, this is excellent news.” He should have followed HSJ more closely this evening.

10.13pm Alastair McLellan’s views are not popular with everyone though. @HSJeditor tweets: “HSJ reader calls my editorial on Simon Stevens ‘sycophantic drivel’. Decide here: …

10.10pm HSJ’s editor has a few interesting facts about Simon Stevens. He tweets:

“First job in the NHS: Asst Gen Manager of Shotley Bridge Hospital in Consett, County Durham

“Random Stevens fact #2: He was a (labour) councillor in Brixton

“Random Stevens fact #3: he joined the NHS Graduate Training Scheme in 1998.”

10.09pm The BBC is covering Simon Stevens’ appointment. Its take on it is: “A senior executive at a private US health firm has been appointed to lead NHS England.” The Beeb story is here.

10.01pm A view from the left. @cpeedell tweets: “Disappointed, but not surprised to hear that Simon Stevens has been appointed as next NHS chief exec. A pro-marketeer from UnitedHealth.”

9.49pm HSJ’s @dwilliamsHSJ tweets: “what does Simon Stevens think of Lansley’s reforms? read this 2011 interview with @HPIAndyCowper

9.44pm More from @clarercgp: [Stevens] turned #NHS around when it was failing in early 2000’s. His time has come again.

“[Stevens] turned #NHS around when it was failing in early 2000’s. His time has come again.”

9.41pm @BCHBoss - Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s chief Sarah-Jane Marsh - tweets: “Congratulations to Simon Stevens.He should be a very proud man this evening.Also pleased to see he is a MTS Graduate.”

9.39pm @ruthcarnall tweets of Simon Stevens: “friendly and supportive to me when I was a nobody and also same when I was a somebody…not always case …true?”

9.38pm: @andrewridley is really pleased by the appointment: “I am SO PLEASED [ abt Simon Stevens] I won’t be able to sleep. Cometh the hour cometh the man,” he tweets

9.36pm: The Royal College of GPs leader @clarecgp tweets: “He has the right values, right brains, right courage & no hidden agenda.”

9.29pm @felixgreaves tweets: “The NHS in England has a new boss: Simon Stevens. He helped design Blair’s reforms. Expect more choice and competition.”

9.28pm HSJ chief reporter @Davewwest tweets: “Government undoubtedly pleased to welcome a strong NHS England chief exec and “reformer and an innovator” rather than no or weak appointment.”

9.24pm Speaking on behalf of NHS Clinical Commissioners, Charles Alessi and Michael Dixon, respectively interim chair and interim president have issued a statement. They say:

“It is hugely welcome that Simon Stevens brings with him experience of commissioning and working with clinical commissioners.
“NHS Clinical Commissioners and our members CCGs are committed to ensuring that the patients and the local communities we serve receive the highest quality care.
“The NHS faces significant challenges and we look forward to working with him to to ensure that the commissioning system is aligned around a common goal that means the NHS delivers the highest possible quality care as efficiently as possible.”

9.21pm Alastair McLellan again. @HSJEditor tweets: “The sainted ;-) Don Berwick says of Stevens: ‘a brilliant choice to lead the NHS’.”


9.20pm Commissioning leader @andrewridley112 tweets: “Thank god — a great new CEO for NHSE - just what we need right now. Well done Simon and welcome back.”


9.18pm Observer journalist @gabyhinsliff tweets: “Simon Stevens is a good hire for the NHS. Can’t think of many people who combine same hands-on experience & political nous.”

9.11pm In a leader article, Alastair McLellan has referred to Simon Stevens as “the right person to lead NHS England”.

9.10pm Alastair McLellan, HSJ’s editor, reveals Simon Stevens’ pay packet;

Simon Steven’s 1st decision as NHS Eng CEO is to take a 10% pay cut - he’ll be paid £190k. £22k less than David Nicholson

9.05pm: Former NHS London chief executive Dame Ruth Carnall is among the first to welcome the appointment. @ruthcarnall has tweeted: “@HSJnews great appointment welcome back simon. Good combo of knowledge intellect and innovation.”

9.01pm: In more recent times Simon Stevens has held a key role with the US health giant UnitedHealth. HSJ’s chief reporter Dave West has charted Mr Stevens’ recent career.

9.00pm: HSJ can exclusively reveal the identity of the new NHS England chief executive. Simon Stevens, a former advisor to Tony Blair, has won the top health job in Britain. HSJ’s full story is here.

4.38pm: Health minister Dan Poulter has responded to the chief medical officer’s report on children, saying: “We have already started a lot of good work and are heavily investing in support for mums, families and children in the early years. We are training an extra 4,200 health visitors by 2015, and 16,000 of the most vulnerable families will be helped by family nurses. But we know there is still much more to do.”

4.36pm: Also some good reaction to our story saying that Keith Willett, the man responsible for A&E departments, is calling for a seven-day service in the NHS. Brief taste:

The GPs must also stop this ridiculous 9-5 service.
Patients do not choose to only require medical intervention in either primary or secondary care during normal office hours.

All this with a 1.9 tariff deflator for 14/15? Just not affordable in the current climate.

It appears most people have little faith in telephone screening followed by waiting or being seen by appointment… Why not just camp out at the local hospital? Good public transport services, variable but not unreasonable access times…

4.08pm: Unsurprisingly, our story saying that the NHS could end up having to foot the bill for an immigration surcharge imposed on foreign visitors has stirred up plenty of reader comments. You can check them all out at the foot of the story but here are a sample.

£200 for over 6 months! What a bargain!!! Cheaper than the air ticket.

Any of us would pay for healthcare outside EU, so non EU visitors should pay over here.If the NHS has to refund NHS workers, then it is circular from a treasury perspective. Perhaps we should train more health workers locally so that we don’t need to import staff?

Scandalous cost of this government’s racist and chauvinist policies dumped onto the NHS. Yet another rip-off from frozen NHS spending as costs rise.

By the time someone NOT entitled to be in the UK has reached the doors of the NHS, there has already been a failure in the system. That’s not the NHS’s fault.

3.45pm: A nurse and hospital chief executive has been appointed national clinical director for rural and remote care by NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh. Lesley Boswell is the first nurse to be appointed to the 26-strong clinical directorate, all the other roles on which are held by doctors.

3.35pm: Police want condoms banned from Edinburgh’s licensed saunas. Police Scotland has written to the city council arguing that if it grants licences for five saunas it should be on condition that no items of a sexual nature are allowed on the premises. Sex workers’ charity Scot-pep has condemned the police proposal, saying it could lead to an HIV epidemic.

2.42pm: The NHS European Office and the Royal College of Physicians have warned that a new Europe-wide law on data protection could have a negative impact on healthcare provision, and erode the quality and effectiveness of health research in the UK. The warning comes as the European Parliament has agreed its position at committee stage on new legislation that aims to harmonise data protection regulations across the European Union.

2.30pm: The Care Quality Commission would like to take over responsibility for patient safety in the health service, despite NHS England gaining responsibility for it as recently as April, it emerged yesterday. The possibility that MPs would urge the health secretary to amend the Care Bill to implement such a move became evident yesterday.

12.25pm: Today’s webinar on Redesigning Pathways, Redefining Your Estate, kicks off in five minutes, watch it live here 

12.20pm: Dairy UK has been milking (sic) the public health debate in a statement by Dr Judith Bryans, recently appointed chief executive. “Public health, sustainable diets and food security will become more prominent on the world dairy stage and it is incumbent on the dairy industries in their respective countries to work progressively with all levels of government to ensure a regulatory and legislative level playing field.”

11.44am: Butter and cheese are not as bad for the heart as previously thought, a cardiologist has written in a leading medical journal. The Telegraph says that Dr Aseem Malhotra, interventional cardiology specialist registrar at Croydon University Hospital, London, said he was out to “bust the myth” of saturated fat.

The newspaper also reports that Care Quality Commission chair David Prior said not one senior medic raised concerns about failings of care during the Mid Staffordshire scandal. MPs yesterday claimed the medical profession is ruled by a “mafia code” that means whistleblowers are “finished” by their colleagues, says the article. Read it here and yesterday’s HSJ Opinion by David Prior here.

11.27am: Mentally ill people are taking up a huge amount of police time. That’s the no-nonsense headline on an interesting piece by Ben Ferguson in the Guardian, in which he follows London coppers as they firefight in one incident after another.

The Guardian also says that the latest data from the Office for National Statistics seems to show happiness is rising across the country - but is it better where you live? You know you’re going to have a look…

11.15am: A Conservative MP has demanded a full audit of the organisation that runs the NHS property service after revealing it transferred funds for capital projects into day to day revenue budgets. Charlotte Leslie questioned health secretary Jeremy Hunt on the issue in the Commons during a regular questions session.

11.06am: HSJ, in association with Interserve, is hosting a webinar today from 12.30pm in which we will explore how estates and facilities management can best support patient pathway redesign and how the NHS can make the best use of estates. Click here to read more about Redesigning Pathways, Redefining Your Estate.

10.36am: Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has been forced to draft in two consultants from a neighbouring trust to maintain a safe service in its emergency department. It agreed with University Hospitals of North Staffordshire Trust that accident and emergency consultant Magnus Harrison will take on the role of clinical director for emergency care and Raghavendra Kamath will cover four clinical shifts a week.

10.20am: Plans to create “safe havens” where patient identifiable data is processed and pseudonymised for use by bodies across the health service could be dropped, it emerged this week. The Health and Social Care Information Centre suggested it could be given full responsibility for pseudonymising and processing data across England rather than individual NHS organisations being accredited to do so.

7.20am: Good morning from HSJ Live, where you’ll find rolling coverage of the stories appearing on as well as all the breaking news and opinion from elsewhere.

New today is a piece by Neil Davies that says the NHS causes damage when it ignores the person behind the complaint. He argues that the process soon becomes impersonal and ineffective and lists a number of remedies that can instead make it more empathetic and constructive.

And in Resource Centre, leaders from two CCGs - NHS Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield - set out their thoughts on how they are promoting active and vibrant member engagement.