Priorities listed for Amanda Pritchard NHS England’s new Chief Executive Officer
“There are big challenges ahead as NHS staff continue to deal with significant pressures while maintaining the roll-out of the hugely successful NHS vaccination programme and tackle backlogs that have inevitably built up in the face of rising Covid infections" Amanda Pritchard, NHS England's new CEO
Amanda Pritchard’s appointment as new Chief Executive Officer of NHS England on 1 August has been warmly welcomed by NHS organisations and healthcare professionals’ leaders alike.
But providers and leaders have wasted no time in listing the priorities they believe the first female CEO in the NHS’ 73-year history should address, and how she should spend the NHS’ £130 billion annual budget.
She takes up the role after serving as the NHS’ Chief Operating Officer for two years but has had a long career in the NHS, having joined as a graduate trainee in 1997.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said he looked forward to working with her on the challenges ahead.
“Amanda brings an unparalleled wealth and depth of experience, having worked in the NHS for nearly 25 years, and at this crucial moment for our country frontline staff will value her operational experience and steady hand.
“I know she will support the NHS and its workforce of over a million people, and ensure the best possible care for our nation as we move forwards from this pandemic, and for many more years to come,” he said.
Her appointment follows an open and competitive recruitment process by the Board of NHS England and NHS Improvement.
Lord David Prior, Chair of the NHS England Board, said he was “delighted” at her appointment.
“She could have had no better preparation for the role than serving as the NHS’ Chief Operating Officer during the greatest health emergency in its history. Amanda is imbued with the values of the NHS and is perfectly qualified to lead the health service through challenging times.”
He added: “She has had first-hand experience of implementing digital technologies and worked closely with the Life Sciences industry and recognises how both can transform the way health care is delivered. She will build a great team and I and the Board look forward to working with her.”
The BMA said Ms Pritchard’s immediate priority must be to address the workforce crisis as well as make a genuine effort to tackle health inequalities. They added that they wanted her to be “willing to stand up to Government when needed”.
The Health Foundation said that her “proven credentials” would be essential to address record waiting lists and support an exhausted and understaffed workforce.
NHS Providers list of “immediate tasks” facing Ms Pritchard, included leading the NHS through the current wave of COVID-19, continuing to deliver the vaccination programme and bolstering the NHS for the winter months. They added that this required a “rapidly agreed, realistic, NHS budget settlement for the second half of the financial year”.
Ms Pritchard said she was “honoured” to lead the NHS, “particularly as the first woman chief executive of an organisation whose staff are more than three quarters female.”
“I have always been incredibly proud to work in the health service but never more so than over the last 18 months as nurses, doctors, therapists, paramedics, pharmacists, porters, cleaners and other staff have responded so magnificently to the Covid pandemic.
“There are big challenges ahead as NHS staff continue to deal with significant pressures while maintaining the roll-out of the hugely successful NHS vaccination programme and tackle backlogs that have inevitably built up in the face of rising Covid infections.
“However the skill, determination and ‘can do’ spirit that NHS staff have shown in the face of the greatest challenge in the health service’s history means we face the future with confidence.”