HSJ’s analysis of the NHS’ top trust chief executives was judged by some of the service’s leading figures


  • Lord Victor Adebowale, chair, NHS Confederation
  • Professor Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals, Care Quality Commission
  • Dr Kevin Cleary, deputy chief inspector of hospitals (lead for mental health), Care Quality Commission
  • Dr Navina Evans, chief executive, Health Education England
  • Dr Andrew Goddard, president, Royal College of Physicians
  • Sara Gorton, head of health, Unison
  • Chris Hopson, chief executive, NHS Providers
  • Dr Farzana Hussain, co-chair, national PCN network
  • Alastair McLellan, HSJ editor and chair of judging panel
  • Habib Naqvi, director, NHS Race and Health Observatory, NHS Confederation
  • Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS Improvement
  • Kate Wilson, senior client partner for Korn Ferry

In association withIn association with Korn Ferry

As part of the process judges considered the following three main criteria:

  • The personal example set by the chief executive. This covers their leadership style and behaviours including approach to mentoring and developing more junior staff; encouraging inclusive leadership; how they work with their board, both executives and non-executives; and their standing among their peers and personal qualities.
  • The performance of the organisation they lead, given the circumstances it is in. This includes performance against the key targets; financial performance; and quality of care. While almost every trust is struggling in one or more of these areas, chief executives should be taking the lead in mitigating the problems and ensuring that fundamental standards of care for patients are maintained.
  • The contribution the chief executive has made to the wider health and social care system. This might be through leading on important projects, either nationally or locally. Examples include success in leading an STP; taking on a national role such as lead for an area of care; or spearheading local improvements. This year how they worked within their local system through the pandemic and on recovery from it was also important.


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