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Sir Simon Stevens has formally notified the NHS England Board of his decision to stand down as planned at the end of July, after more than seven years as NHS Chief Executive.

Sir Simon took up post on 1 April 2014, having first joined the NHS in 1988 through its graduate management programme. In a varied career before becoming NHS England Chief Executive, he worked in frontline NHS services and in international health care, in both the public and private sectors, and at 10 Downing Street and the Department of Health.

Having confidentially notified the NHS England Board last year of his intended departure this summer, they will now – as set out in legislation – lead the open competitive recruitment process for Sir Simon’s successor and the post will be advertised shortly.

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The appointment of the Board’s chosen candidate is then subject to ratification by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. The aim is to have a successor appointed before Sir Simon steps down on 31 July, during which time he will continue to lead the NHS and oversee successful completion of NHS England’s coronavirus vaccination rollout to all adults.

Sir Simon Stevens said: “Joining the health service in my early twenties 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. As the pandemic recedes in this country, the NHS’s track record in advancing medical progress in a way that works for everyone rightly continues to inspire young people to join one of the greatest causes – health and high quality care for all, now and for future generations.”

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson added: “Sir Simon has led the NHS with great distinction for the past seven years. I want to thank him for his dedicated service throughout – but especially when facing the extraordinary pressures of the past year, and for his huge contribution to our vaccine rollout.”

Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, commented: “In his tenure at the helm of the NHS in England, Sir Simon has laid out the course for the health service of the future. He has been the chief architect of reforms that will deliver more joined up care for patients across England for many years to come, as well as a service focusing on reducing inequalities and welcoming diversity.

“Over the last year he has both steered the NHS through its most challenging period in history and overseen a vaccination programme of enormous scale and pace which will save many lives.”

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