Outgoing NHS boss Sir David Nicholson wants to work with press regulator to stop health service being undermined by ‘sensational’ newspaper stories

His comments come a year after the Daily Mail called for his resignation and labelled him 'the man with no shame' in the wake of the Francis Report into the Mid Staffordshire scandal

The outgoing boss of the NHS in England has revealed he plans to spend the next stage of his career defending the health service from newspapers which “hate the NHS”.

Sir David Nicholson, who will retire next month, said he hopes to work with the post-Leveson press regulator in a bid to stop public confidence in the health service being undermined by sensational stories.

He told the Health Service Journal the idea of free healthcare “is not in my view naturally the bedfellow of some of our national newspapers”.

The chief executive of NHS England argued he is not looking to join a proposed new press regulator to prevent criticism of individuals in the NHS or “stop the Daily Mail doing whatever it does”. Instead, he said, he wants to ensure that greater transparency on the part of the NHS is not exploited by newspapers to tell sensational stories.

His comments about the Daily Mail come a year after the paper called for his resignation and labelled him “the man with no shame” in the wake of the Francis Report into the Mid Staffordshire scandal.

While not directly criticising him, the Francis report highlighted the failings of health authorities responsible for Mid Staffs, which were led by Sir David at the time poor care was being carried out at the hospital. It also contained damning criticism of an NHS system which ignored warnings of poor care. Sir David said a new press regulator would have an important role to play at a time when the NHS is attempting to become more open about care failings in order to learn from mistakes.

“We’ve got to have a media and a context which is supportive of that happening,” he told HSJ, adding it would be important to avoid coverage which could lead to staff being “frightened or hiding things”: a situation he said would be “really dangerous”.

“My real worry is… we get attacked and what gets undermined is the principle of public services [and] public confidence,” he added. Asked if newspaper coverage had been driven by a desire to attack the public sector he said there was an “element” of that. “It’s no accident is it that people who led it hate the NHS?” he added. He said he had never worked with politicians who did not support the NHS.

Sir David will retire in April after 36 years with the health service. He became chief executive in September 2006 after a string of senior positions in hospital and health service management.

He will be replaced by Tony Blair’s former adviser on health, Simon Stevens, who has spent the past nine years as a senior executive at US private health giant UnitedHealth. Sir David said he also wanted to promote and advise in other countries which wanted to set up a health service similar to the NHS.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

    £40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

    Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

    £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before