Published: 07/10/2004, Volume II4, No. 5926 Page 5

Prime minister Tony Blair's former health adviser Simon Stevens is waiting to hear what role he will be allowed to take in negotiations between his new employers UnitedHealth Group and the Department of Health.

Mr Stevens was appointed president of UnitedHealth's new European healthcare company in May.

But last week the Cabinet Office said it is up to the Cabinet secretary to decide when the adviser will be allowed to start lobbying for the private sector company in Britain and under what conditions. A Cabinet Office spokesman told HSJ that a decision had yet to be made.

Mr Stevens was appointed by UnitedHealth after six years of advising two health secretaries and then the prime minister.He is seen as the intellectual driving force behind many of Labour's health reforms, including the adoption of managed-care systems used in the NHS.

Mr Stevens is understood to be currently working at the international company's US headquarters in Minneapolis, awaiting a decision on his future.