Current deputy to outgoing NHS boss Sir Simon Stevens – Amanda Pritchard – will be given a top role

The NHS will have its first ever female boss, with deputy to outgoing chief executive Sir Simon Stevens winning the top role.

Amanda Pritchard, currently the chief operating officer of the health service, will take over the reins next week.

Ms Pritchard, whose father is a Bishop, has spent her entire 25-year career in the NHS since graduating from Oxford University.

In securing the top role, she beat competition from former head of No10’s Test and Trace scheme Dido Harding, as well as KPMG partner Mark Britnell.

Former Amazon UK boss Douglas Gurr and Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan were also in the running.

Sir Simon retires after seven years at the helm and becomes a peer in the House of Lords.

Sir Simon Stevens has held top health care job but is leaving this week to join the House of Lords

Amanda Pritchard, left, will be the first woman to lead the NHS since it was founded in 1948. Sir Simon Stevens, right, steps down after seven years in the top role to join the House of Lords

The daughter of a bishop who spent 25 years in the NHS: Amanda Pritchard, the new chief of health services

The daughter of a bishop, Amanda Pritchard, grew up in Durham with her parents and sister.

Before embarking on a 25-year career with the NHS, she attended Durham Johnston Comprehensive School, where she was a member of the debate club.

Ms Pritchard graduated from Oxford University with a degree in modern history before joining the NHS in 1997 through her graduate management training programme.

She joined West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust in 1997 as an associate doctor’s management trainee.

In 2002 she became general manager of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Ms Pritchard was appointed under Tony Blair in 2005 as Team Leader of the Health Team of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit.

She then returned to Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust as chief executive.

In 2017, she told a university magazine: ‘I left university because I wanted to do something that made a difference and thanks to the people I’ve worked with, learned from and who continue to support me every day, I’m in an extremely privileged position. to be able to do that.’

She has three children, the youngest of whom suffered from meningococcal septicemia when he was a baby, but made a full recovery.

He was the eighth person to lead NHS England since its foundation in 1948.

In his letter of resignation, he described it as a privilege to be in charge of the NHS through ‘some of the toughest challenges in its history’.

Sir Simon – who has been in charge for seven years – has survived three elections and the Covid pandemic.

According to the NHS England 2019/20 annual report, the chief executive’s salary was between £195,000 and £200,000.

The report stated that Sir Simon had voluntarily taken a £20,000 pay cut for the sixth year running that year.

Ms Pritchard, who grew up in Durham, will take on the role at a time of crisis for the health service, which faces record waiting lists and escalating Covid hospitals.

She has been Chief Operating Officer of NHS England and NHS Improvement since July 2019.

In that role, she was responsible for overseeing the health service’s performance and implementing improvements.

She previously studied modern history at Oxford University before joining the NHS in 1997 through a graduate management course.

Her father John Pritchard, a bishop of the Church of England, also studied at Oxford University.

In 2012, she was chief executive at Guys’ and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest providers of hospital services in the country, treating 2.4 million patients a year with 15,000 staff.

Ms Pritchard will now be in charge of the NHS’s annual budget of nearly £150 billion and the service’s 1.3 million staff.

Ex-Health Secretary Matt Hancock backed Lady Dido for the role.

But Sajid Javid, who took over from Mr Hancock, ruled out the Tory peer last month.

Sir James Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust, also failed to make the final rounds, according to the health journal.

The applicants were interviewed by representatives from No10, the Treasury and Cabinet Office, as well as board members from NHS England and its chairman, Lord David Prior.

Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, said the NHS “greatly welcomes” the appointment of Ms Pritchard.

He said: ‘Over the past two years, confidence leaders have welcomed Amanda’s calm, team-oriented and effective national operational leadership of the NHS during one of the most challenging periods in its history.

“She has a deep and strong bond with the NHS frontline leaders and staff, which will be much needed given the magnitude of the challenge ahead.

“It is also extremely pleasing to see a female NHS chief appointed for the first time in the service’s 73-year history.”

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said Ms Pritchard will “get off the ground” when she takes on the role.

He said: ‘This role is arguably the most important in the entire public sector and with a new Secretary of State up to speed, this continuity at the top of the NHS will be vital.’


Doug Gurro

Doug Gurr, who served as global vice president and head of Amazon UK from 2016 to 2020, was interviewed by Treasury officials for the NHS chief position earlier this month.

Since last year he is the current director of the Natural History Museum in London. He is also Chairman of the British Heart Foundation and Non-Executive Director of the UK Department of Work and Pensions.

The businessman and father of two from Leeds has also held positions with the civil service, McKinsey & Co and with ASDA, where he was chief executive.

Baroness Dido Harding

Dido Harding is currently in charge of the government’s highly controversial £22 billion NHS Test and Trace programme.

She studied personal protective equipment at Oxford alongside David Cameron before having a long career in the private sector, but has no frontline NHS management experience.

Baroness Harding was the boss of TalkTalk when four million of his customers lost their banking information.

Mark Britnell

Mark Britnell is chairman and partner of the global health practice at Big Four accounting firm KPMG.

In May he thought ‘very seriously’ about applying for the position of director of the NHS.

Britnell was linked with the top position in 2013 when Sir Simon Stevens took over, but then said he had not applied.

He studied history at the University of Warwick before joining the NHS management training program in 1989 – the same program Amanda Pritchard did next.

Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan has been chief executive of Leeds City Council since August 2010 and is the youngest person ever to hold the position.

Growing up in North Yorkshire, he graduated from Oxford University in 1989 with a degree in modern history before joining the Whitehall fast track scheme in 1990.

The health journal revealed last month that Mr Riordan has applied for the lead position of the NHS.