Chief executive of the NHS Simon Stevens (Photo: Justin Tallis/Pool via REUTERS)

The government says Sir Simon Stevens will be stepping down as chief executive of NHS England from July and become a peer.

A government press release on Thursday (April 29) said: “The Queen has been pleased to confer a peerage of the United Kingdom for life on Sir Simon Stevens, upon him stepping down as chief executive of NHS England.”

In a statement from NHS England, Sir Simon 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.

Sir Simon became chief executive of NHS England in 2014, having first joined the NHS in 1988 through its graduate management programme.

He added: “The people of this country have rightly recognised the extraordinary service of NHS staff through 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.”

In a varied career before becoming the boss of NHS England, Sir Simon worked in frontline NHS roles and in international health care, in both the public and private sectors, and at 10 Downing Street and the Department of Health.

He was knighted in 2020 for services to Health & the NHS.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said Sir Simon had “led the NHS with great distinction”.

Commenting on the news, Labour leader Keir Starmer said the “NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme under his leadership has shown the NHS at its best.”

Jonathan Ashworth MP, labour’s shadow health secretary called Sir Simon “an outstanding leader for the NHS since 2014, championing both staff and patients alike”.

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