“We have long advocated the merger of NHS England and NHS Improvement – twin regulators have too often meant dual messages from the centre. This is another important step towards greater consistency.
"The national leadership of the NHS needs to have a clear and single view about the future direction for the service. This has not always been the case, so moving to one integrated team, led by Simon Stevens, has to be the right move.
"At the same time, we must make sure the new combined organisation is an enabling one which understands, empowers and works to support frontline leaders. The NHS Long Term Plan will be delivered by letting local systems lead not by more centralisation and control.
"Our thanks go to Ian Dalton who has handled a difficult brief and supported our provider Trust members during what has been a turbulent period."