The chief executive of the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement is to take early retirement, HSJ understands.

Professor Bernard Crump has been chief executive of the institute since its creation on 1 July 2005. He will officially retire from the institute in a couple of months but from next week will be on secondment at the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

For the next six months he will be working with the academy to support the launch of its faculty of medical leadership and management. In the longer term, he said he would “take stock of opportunities”.

He is the third senior figure to announce they are leaving the NHS or Department of Health in the space of a week.

DH director general of workforce Clare Chapman announced her resignation on 20 June and will leave the department in July, before taking up a post at BT in September.

Two days later, DH chief information officer Christine Connelly also announced her departure.

It was announced last July that the NHS Institute would be significantly restructured under the government’s plans to save £180m by reducing the number of arm’s length bodies.

Professor Crump told HSJ he had “taken the opportunity to consider his future at this time of transition” for the organisation and had decided to take early retirement.

He paid tribute to the past work of the institute, saying: “There’s a lot to be justifiably proud of.”

He noted the success of the “productive series” of frontline led efficiency programmes, which he said were often “greeted by staff as approaches with the grain of the way they want to work”.

Some of its institute’s functions are earmarked to go to the NHS Commissioning Board while the remainder look set to be continued in the form of a social enterprise or other independent sector organisation. However, concerns have previously been raised over whether its current programmes are sufficiently embedded to survive.

Professor Crump said that projects like the productive ward programme were now “way beyond tipping point” of going back on. But he said one of the “challenges” for any successor organisation would be to successfully roll out the institute’s latest project, productive general practice, to thousands of GP surgeries.  

Professor Crump qualified in medicine from the University of Birmingham in 1980. He practised as a physician and carried out clinical research in the Midlands and the South East before training in public health medicine.

He became director of public health in South Birmingham Health Authority in 1990.

He subsequently became DPH and deputy chief executive of Leicestershire Health Authority and chief executive of the Shropshire and Staffordshire Strategic Health Authority from 2001-05, prior to joining the NHS Institute as chief executive.