Dido Harding applies to become next CEO of NHS England

Test and trace boss is married to a Conservative MP and sits as a Conservative in the House of Lords

Shaun Lintern
Health Correspondent
Thursday 17 June 2021 16:35
<p>Baroness Dido Harding has applied to be NHS England’s next chief executive</p>

Baroness Dido Harding has applied to be NHS England’s next chief executive

Tory peer Baroness Dido Harding has formally applied to become the next chief executive of NHS England.

The former head of the government’s much criticised test and trace service has officially put in a bid to run the £130 billion and stepped aside from her role as chair of NHS Improvement while her bid is considered.

Baroness Harding is the wife of Conservative MP John Penrose and when she was appointed to lead NHS Improvement - now part of NHS England - she refused to give up the Tory whip in the House of Lords.

She had previously confirmed she was considering making a bid for the top job in a move which drew criticism because of her clear political stance.

The Labour Party made clear whoever was appointed needing to have a solid track record.

Justin Madders, the junior shadow health minister, said: “We hope the recruitment process takes candidates’ recent achievements into account, but test and trace’s performance speaks for itself.”

If appointed she would take over the NHS as controversial new legislation to reform the structure of the health service goes through Parliament.

Her application was confirmed on NHS England’s website today, first reported by the Health Service Journal, in an update to her official biography.

It said: “Dido became chair of NHS Improvement on 30 October 2017. Dido has applied to become the next CEO of the NHS and has therefore stood aside as chair of NHS Improvement whilst the recruitment process takes place.”

Baroness Harding will replace Sir Simon Stevens who has been head of the NHS in England since 2014 and who will himself take a seat in the House of Lords when he steps down next month.

In a speech earlier this week Sir Simon said his successor needed to continue to “make the weather” in terms of being outspoken on key areas where the NHS needed to have an opinion.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in