• Samantha Jones will lead Centene UK
  • In the UK the company has worked with Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System

A former hospital boss and NHS England director has been appointed the chief executive of the UK arm of international insurance firm Centene. 

Samantha Jones was NHS England’s director of new care models from 2015 to 2017, and previously chief executive of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals and West Hertfordshire Hospitals trusts.

Centene Corporation is a major health insurance and managed care firm in the US, primarily working for people whose care is partly funded publicly. It was heavily involved with Ribera Salud, the Spanish public/private partnership, which developed a well-known model of integrated care at the Alzira hospital in Valencia, but has been removed from this role during 2018.

In the UK, Centene bought a majority stake in The Practice – a company which runs lots of GP surgeries – in 2016, and appointed its first UK chief executive in 2017. Centene also bought Beacon UK, a mental health service provider, which has been renamed to Simplify Health.

A small number of health systems have contracted Centene UK in recent years to provide support for integration and population health, including the Rushcliffe new care model “vanguard” site and the wider Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System.

Centene is represented on nine out of 10 lots on the “health system support” framework, issued by NHS England in September for the NHS to buy a range of technology, analytics and consultancy functions.

A statement from Centene UK said Ms Jones would “lead Centene UK’s strategy aimed at enabling and supporting integrated care across the United Kingdom”. She will start in January.

She said: “I am very pleased to be joining Centene UK to support its goal of enabling and supporting integrated care for patients, so that care can be transformed. Centene UK is committed to investing in the UK, and I look forward to becoming part of an organisation that is taking on this challenging yet rewarding task.”

Jonathan Lewis, who is the current Centene UK chief executive, will take on an international role with Centene Corporation, the statement said. The chief executive and finance director of the Practice Group left the company early this year.

Updated 3 December to reflect that Centene is as of 2018 no longer involved in the Alzira system.