Sir David Nicholson quits: NHS chief steps down in wake of Mid Staffs scandal
He took on the job less than two years ago and will leave his role next March
The head of the NHS Sir David Nicholson is to step down from his role, it was announced today, following a sustained and sometimes virulent campaign to force his resignation over the Mid Staffordshire scandal.
Sir David, 57, took on the job as chief executive of NHS England less than two years ago.
But his position became increasingly untenable after was heavily criticised in the media and by some health campaigners following the publication of the Francis Report into the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of patients at Stafford Hospital. He was in charge of the regional health authority responsible for the hospital at the height of the failings between 2005 and 2006.
Sir David, who will leave his post next March, admitted in a letter to the chairman of NHS England, that "on occasion" the health service was still failing "patients, families and carers".
"This continues to be a matter of profound regret to me," he said.
He also appeared to take a swipe at the Conservative's controversial health reforms - which critics have warned has placed the NHS under intolerable pressure at a time of huge pressure on budgets.
"Whatever the rights and wrongs of the wider reforms, the creation of a national organisation with the independence and resources to act in the interests of patients remains a prize worth fighting for," he said.
He added: "I have only ever had one ambition and that is to improve the quality of care for patients. I still passionately believe in what NHS England intends to do. My hope is that by being clear about my intentions now will give the organisation the opportunity to attract candidates of the very highest calibre so they can appoint someone who will be able to see this essential work through to its completion."
Professor Malcolm Grant, chair of NHS England, said Sir David's leadership through the radical changes in the NHS of the past two years had been "absolutely fundamental to their success".
"In particular, the establishment, set-up and launch of NHS England has been an immensely difficult task," he said.
"I should like to express my personal appreciation for all Sir David's support and guidance to date."
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt also praised Sir David's leadership.
"NHS waiting times have fallen, infection rates reduced, and mixed sex accommodation is at an all-time low. His job has often been incredibly complex and very difficult, and yet he has always had a reputation for staying calm, and maintaining a relentless focus on what makes a difference on the NHS frontline."
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
- 5 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Network Manager - Shepherd's Bush...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary supply teac...
£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Full time German Supply Teacher...