• NHS England’s deputy chief executive to leave at end of July
  • Matthew Swindells will immediately give up IT responsibilities 
  • Will work as independent contractor initially providing services to Accenture

Matthew Swindells will step down as deputy chief executive for NHS England at the end of July and will work for a private sector consultancy giant, it has been announced.

Mr Swindells will be an independent contractor “initially providing services to the Accenture global digital business”, NHS England said.

The regulator confirmed Mr Swindells would immediately relinquish his IT and related responsibilities in NHSE, which would be transferred to NHSX chief executive Matthew Gould. He will also not be involved in NHS-related work during a restricted period after his departure.

HSJ revealed in March that Mr Swindells’ role as NHS England deputy chief executive was being disbanded, while NHS Improvement chief executive Ian Dalton was quitting and NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens was to assume leadership of the two organisations. 

At the same time, it emerged the two bodies would be creating a joint chief operating officer role. While Mr Swindells could have moved to this role, HSJ understood the joint leadership was keen to appoint from outside the organisations. A job advert for this role has been posted today. 

During his time at NHS England, Mr Swindells rebooted the NHS’ IT strategy and oversaw the development of urgent and emergency care and elective referral strategies.

Mr Swindells said after three years at NHS England it was time for him to move on to new things.

“The organisation is reshaping itself around a new integrated operating model, and I think it is time for a fresh face as chief operating officer for the first time spanning both NHS England and NHS Improvement,” he said.

“I am grateful to the tremendous group of colleagues who it has been a pleasure to work with and who have supported me across NHS England, NHS Improvement and the NHS more widely,” Mr Swindells added.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England said: “Mr Swindells has led from the front in confronting all the big challenges facing the NHS – including reform of primary care, emergency services, services for people with learning disabilities, and integrated care.”

Mr Stevens added: “He leaves NHS England with a clear track record of practical accomplishment.”

Lord Prior, chair of NHS England said Mr Swindells was “rightly one of the original advocates for bringing together NHS Improvement and NHS England” and “he leaves an enduring impact on frontline services and care”.

“We hope that at some stage the NHS will be able to benefit from his service again,” Lord Prior said.

Mr Swindells came to NHS England in December 2015 from the IT firm Cerner where he was based in the US. Before that he worked at the Department of Health as chief information officer, as chief executive of Royal Surrey Hospital, and for the consultancy Tribal.


Matthew Swindells to leave NHS England for private sector work