The Roy Lilley-Sir Simon Stevens ‘Health Chat’ interview

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS England’s chief executive who leaves this post on 31 July after seven years, was interviewed by Roy Lilley (nhsManagers.net) for his recurring Institute of Health and Social Care Management Health Chat. This Editor has found a summary of the interview and it makes for interesting reading.

Sir Simon started with the NHS out of their graduate training program. Assigned to run a mental health facility in the North East, he introduced himself to some people on the drive by the facility and asked what they were doing. “Scattering the ashes of your predecessor” they said. From that macabre start, he went on to craft public policy under two very different Labor governments, the first ‘The NHS Plan’ in 2000 and then returning after stops at Downing Street and United Health to take over a ‘traumatized’ NHS in 2012. “The NHS was out of New Labour’s money, facing rising demand from an ageing and increasingly unequal society, and struggling to pick up the pieces from a broken social care system. It needed a new approach, and Sir Simon provided one with the ‘Five Year Forward View’ and its successor the ‘NHS Long Term Plan’” that controlled demand and improved efficiency by introducing population health management and integrated care. He was also able to secure funding, more than other agencies. Sir Simon was then expected to leave with the change of government, but then Covid-19 hit.

About halfway down, you’ll read some tart comments about the mix of digital health in the total picture of the NHS and whether digital first will stick.

With deputy Amanda Pritchard taking over, only weeks from the appointment of the new health secretary Sajid Javid replacing Matt ‘Man in a briefcase’ Hancock, the snapback in care demand, and apparently another round of a virus which should get the Henry VIII treatment (‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome virus’?), it will surely be interesting times. Hat tip to Highland Marketing which is the strategic communications partner for the Institute of Health and Social Care Management and the Academy of Fab Stuff, and article writer Lyn Whitfield.