NHS England has appointed Amanda Pritchard as the new Chief Executive Officer. Pritchard will be the first woman to head NHS after taking up the post on Sunday (August 1).

In her new role, Pritchard will be responsible for an annual budget of more than £130 billion while ensuring that everyone in the country receives high quality care.

Amanda Pritchard, incoming Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “I am 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.”

She takes up the role after serving as the NHS’ Chief Operating Officer (COO) for two years. Her appointment follows an open and competitive recruitment process by the Board of NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: “This is a critical moment for the NHS as it continues to care for Covid patients whilst tackling treatment backlogs caused by the pandemic. Amanda’s experience and expertise mean she is perfectly placed to address these issues and more, and I look forward to working closely with her.

“I want to again thank Lord Stevens for his dedicated service and leadership for the past seven years – especially when facing the extraordinary pressures of the pandemic, and for his huge contribution to our vaccine rollout.”

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “Over the past eighteen months NHS staff have faced their greatest challenge, and have proven time and time again that they deserve the nation’s gratitude for their fortitude and commitment.

“Amanda brings an unparalleled wealth and depth of experience, having worked in the NHS for nearly twenty five years, and at this crucial moment for our country frontline staff will value her operational experience and steady hand.

“I look forward to working closely with Amanda on the challenges ahead, and am delighted we are appointing the first woman to the post in NHS history.

“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.”

Lord David Prior, Chair of the NHS England Board, said: “Amanda is imbued with the values of the NHS and is perfectly qualified to lead the health service through challenging times.

“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.

“I would again like to offer my thanks and best wishes to Simon Stevens who so successfully led the NHS for the last seven years including, of course, the pandemic, the greatest challenge this country has faced since the second world war.”

She replaced Simon Stevens who announced in April that he was stepping down as NHS chief executive at the end of July after more than seven years in charge.

As Chief Operating Officer, Amanda Pritchard has overseen NHS operational performance and delivery, as well as implementation of service transformation and patient care improvements set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The Chief Operating Officer is also accountable to the NHS Improvement Board as NHS Improvement’s designated accountable officer with regulatory responsibility for Monitor.

Pritchard began her NHS career as a graduate management trainee in 1997 after studying at Oxford University and has held a variety of other NHS management positions.

Before joining NHS England and NHS Improvement in 2019 she served as Chief Executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London.

Pritchard was also Deputy Chief Executive at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust.

She attended Durham Johnson Comprehensive School, in County Durham, before studying Modern History at St Anne’s College, Oxford. She is married with three children.

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