Amanda Pritchard has been confirmed as the new Chief Executive Officer of the NHS. She is taking over from Sir Simon Stevens and is the first woman to hold the position in the 73-year history of the NHS. She has served in the role of Chief Operating Officer for two years and first joined the NHS through a graduate management training scheme in 1997. Given her history in the NHS and her close working relationship with her predecessor she is an incredibly strong choice for the position.
In a recent statement she said she is ‘honoured to lead the NHS, particularly as the first woman chief executive of an organisation whose staff are more than three-quarters female.’
The recruitment process has been largely overshadowed by the debate around the suitability of other candidates such as Ex-Amazon Chief Douglas Gurr and Dido Harding, the former head of Test and Trace. Sir Jim Mackey, the former NHS Improvement CEO, had bowed out of the race earlier this month to redirect his focus towards health innovation in the Northeast.
Ready to face the challenges ahead
This is not an easy role to take on given the current challenges facing the NHS but, in Pritchard’s own words, ‘the skill, determination and ‘can do’ spirit that NHS staff have shown in the face of the greatest challenge in the health service’s history means we face the future with confidence.’
Arguably the ideal candidate, Amanda Pritchard has been at the right hand of Sir Simon Stevens throughout the pandemic so will already have an intimate understanding of the situation and the challenges ahead.
She is taking on this position with a strong sense of pride in the NHS:
‘I have always been incredibly proud to work in the health service but never more so than over the last 18 months as nurses, doctors, therapists, paramedics, pharmacists, porters, cleaners and other staff have responded so magnificently to the COVID pandemic.’
Boris Johnson is ‘delighted’ at Amanda Pritchard’s appointment to the role and looks forward to working closely with her in this ‘critical moment for the NHS as it continues to care for Covid patients whilst tackling treatment backlogs caused by the pandemic.’
Chris Hopson, the chief executive of the NHS Providers organisation, strongly welcomed her appointment, stating that ‘over the last two years, trust leaders have welcomed Amanda’s calm, team oriented, and effective national operational leadership of the NHS through one of the most challenging periods in its history’.
Sajid Javid has also voiced his support for Pritchard, stating that her ‘unparalleled’ NHS experience will be invaluable at this crucial moment:
‘Frontline staff will value her operational experience and steady hand. […] I know she will support the NHS and its workforce of over a million people, and ensure the best possible care for our nation as we move forwards from this pandemic, and for many more years to come.’
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, is confident in her ability to ‘hit the ground running’ when she takes up the position on Sunday 1st of August.
As Sir Simon Stevens steps down, his deputy steps up into the spotlight to lead the NHS. With nearly 25 years of experience in the NHS and 2 years working in close proximity to the role, Amanda Pritchard is a seemingly perfect candidate.
This is not an easy role to take on, especially not under current circumstances, but Amanda Pritchard will handle it with the steady hand her peers in government and the NHS have come to know.
[Image credit: The Times.]
About the Author: Leo Hynett
Leo Hynett is a contributing Features Writer, with a particular interest in Culture, the Arts and LGBTQ+ Politics.
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