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David Nicholson to step down as head of England’s NHS

Decision to retire comes two months after publication of Francis report into hospital scandal

NHS David Nicholson

Sir David Nicholson has said he will leave his position as chief executive of NHS England in March 2014.

Sir David has been in the role since the organisation was formed at the NHS Commissioning Board in 2012 as part of a series of major healthcare reforms in England. This followed several years as chief executive of the NHS.

The announcement comes during a time of controversy for Sir David and the NHS following the publication of the Francis report into patient neglect and appalling standards of care at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust from 2005 to 2009.

Sir David was briefly head of the local Strategic Health Authority for the Trust when details of this poor care began to emerge, and campaigners have called for his resignation as head of the NHS.

In a letter to Professor Malcolm Grant, chair of NHS England, Sir David said: “I have only ever had one ambition and that is to improve the quality of care for patients. I still passionately believe in what NHS England intends to do.”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has publicly supported Sir David as the Francis report brought the Midd Staffordshire scandal to wide attention, praised the achievements of the NHS head.

“Under Sir David Nicholson's leadership, NHS waiting times have fallen, infection rates reduced, and mixed sex accommodation is at an all-time low,” said Hunt.

“His job has often been incredibly complex and very difficult, and yet he has always had a reputation for staying calm, and maintaining a relentless focus on what makes a difference on the NHS frontline.”

22nd May 2013

From: Healthcare

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