‘Steadfast’ Sir Simon Stevens to step down as head of NHS England

Simon Stevens claims government charts 'hard to keep up with'

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the outgoing chief had “led the NHS with great distinction for the past seven years”. He will leave his role at the end of July after overseeing the Covid vaccination rollout to all adults. Sir Simon had intended to leave sooner but agreed to stay on through last winter.

In a separate announcement, No10 said the Queen had been pleased to confer a life peerage following his decision.

Sir Simon, who will sit as a crossbencher in the House of Lords, said: “Joining the health service in my early 20s was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, followed three decades later by the privilege of leading the NHS through some of the toughest challenges in its history.

“The people of this country have rightly recognised the extraordinary service of NHS staff during this terrible pandemic, as well as the success of our Covid vaccination deployment.”

Mr Johnson thanked Sir Simon for his “dedicated service, especially when facing the extraordinary pressures of the past year, and for his huge contribution to our vaccine rollout”.

The health boss is understood to have alerted Lord Prior, chairman of NHS England, last summer about his intention to step down.

Lord Prior said the UK owed Sir Simon a “huge debt of gratitude”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Throughout his tenure Sir Simon Stevens has been a steadfast and sage leader for our National Health Service.”

Mr Hancock’s predecessor Jeremy Hunt said: “Hiring him remains one of the best decisions I have ever taken. He should feel extremely proud.”

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