Amanda Pritchard appointment as NHS chief executive ensures continuity for health service

Matthew Taylor has commented on the appointment of Amanda Pritchard as the next chief executive of the NHS in England.

28 July 2021

Commenting on the appointment of Amanda Pritchard as chief executive of the NHS, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“It's fantastic to have the first female chief executive of NHS England. In policy terms, Amanda is the continuity candidate and her appointment ensures she will hit the ground running when Lord Stevens leaves. This role is arguably the most significant across the entire public sector and with a new Secretary of State getting up to speed, this continuity at the top of the NHS will be vital.

“Amanda will have a full in-tray, but she should have five immediate priorities as chief executive.

“The first priority should be to put forward the strongest argument possible for the NHS to get the funding it needs to get through the second half of this financial year and respond to coronavirus and its associated challenges. It is concerning that health leaders still do not have this clarity from the Government and it is affecting their ability to plan from October onwards.

“The second priority should be to put forward a watertight position for additional long-term funding for the NHS in the comprehensive spending review in the autumn. Demand for patient services is up, capacity is down and waiting lists are spiralling, so the NHS needs additional investment to stabilise, support innovation, improve resilience and deliver long-term ambitions in a way that can tackle the widening health inequalities we have seen.

“The third priority should be to help steer the Health and Care Bill through Parliament, given the support it largely has across the NHS already and to work to address the few elements of the legislation that do not have the NHS’s backing. This includes the proposed increased powers for the Secretary of State, the need for regular, independent and published assessments of future workforce requirements, and around local governance and accountability.

“The fourth priority should be to lead the NHS’s 1.3 million-strong workforce through the remainder of the pandemic and beyond in a way that makes them feel valued and supported to deliver their vital roles for their local communities. The last 18 months have taken their toll on staff and they are exhausted, so our members will be looking for compassionate leadership that that can enable their teams and the NHS a whole to thrive post-COVID.

“The final immediate priority for Amanda should be to reduce the level of micromanagement and control from NHS England to the service and to support a culture that truly lets local leaders lead. The legislation will facilitate this, but it requires a change from the top of the office too. Pandemic pressures aside, our members frequently raise concerns about unnecessary meddling.

“On behalf of our members, we offer our congratulations to Amanda and we look forward to working with her in this new role.”