HSJ says he has resigned as director of transformation at NHS Commissioning Board
The NHS Commissioning Board's director of transformation Jim Easton is set to move from his public sector position to join private healthcare provider Care UK as managing director.
The Health Service Journal (HSJ) reports Easton has resigned his NHS position, and there will now be a process of negotiation before the move is formally agreed.
Easton, who also serves as Department of Health's (DH) national director for improvement and efficiency, has been one of the leading voices in championing the QIPP agenda, which aims to implement an ideology of quality, innovation, productivity and prevention throughout NHS care in England and Wales in order to meet efficiency-saving demands of £20bn.
He joined the NHS Commissioning Board following its creation to oversee regional clinical commissioning groups and provide national standards and accountability for commissioning services.
If he does depart it will damage confidence in the NHS' ability to implement the intentions of QIPP and could possibly give further ammunition to critics of the NHS reforms, who already see them as paving the way for privatisation of the English healthcare system.
An NHS Commissioning Board spokesperson told the HSJ: “We can confirm that Jim Easton has been approached about a job opportunity by an organisation in the independent health sector.
“Because this would be an outside appointment, it is subject to approval in line with the business appointment rules for senior Department of Health staff moving to new roles in the independent sector."
Easton has a rich history in the NHS, having served as chief executive of the strategic health authority NHS South Central and chief executive officer of York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
He has also developed links with the pharma industry, attending several events held by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), including its annual conference in May, 2011.