Simon stevens

Watch: NHS chief refuses to say if Matt Hancock is ‘hopeless’

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. If that’s the case, there must be an awful lot of people who are close to the health secretary, Matt Hancock. Hancock has not had the best of weeks. On Wednesday, Dominic Cummings released a series of WhatsApps which appeared to show the Prime Minister calling the health secretary ‘hopeless’ in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Asked about the texts later, Hancock meekly replied that he ‘didn’t think’ he was that useless. Now it turns out that he isn’t exactly well-regarded by senior NHS officials either. In an interview yesterday, the outgoing chief of the NHS,

How NHS boss Simon Stevens could soon cause trouble for Boris

NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens’s final speech today was watched online by hundreds of health service bigwigs. But its main audience was much smaller. It was aimed squarely at just two people: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. Stevens’s main message was about funding. The government, and, in particular, the Treasury, may not be thrilled once they wrap their heads around his statement on the five-million-strong (and Covid-predating) NHS backlog that ‘when the health service is given the backing and the tools we need, we can deliver what’s required’. Translated into plainer language, Stevens was saying: ‘Get your wallets out: this is going to hurt’. The mega-hint here is clear: Sir Simon

Should Dido Harding end up running the NHS?

In England, the NHS is run by an organisation with an identity crisis. It calls itself NHS England, but that’s just self-promotional branding. In law, it is the NHS Commissioning Board, created by Andrew Lansley’s controversial 2012 reforms which gave the NHS a high level of autonomy from direct government control. The NHS Commissioning Board was first run by ex-Communist Sir David Nicholson; then by a former Labour councillor and ex-New Labour special advisor Sir Simon Stevens, who steps down at the end of July. Based on that trajectory, a cynical observer might suggest that in the distant future even a former Liberal Democrat could one day get the job.

Rishi Sunak’s real opponent

Things are starting to get more awkward for Rishi Sunak — something the Chancellor has long been prepared for. He knew that the early months of the pandemic, in which he gave out billions in taxpayers’ cash, would fade to the rather more difficult landscape he now faces: trying to rein that spending in — and stop ministers from eking more and more out of the Treasury for their own departments.  At this morning’s Treasury questions, Sunak inevitably faced questions about the bombshell dropped by NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens in a select committee hearing that the NHS had been budgeting for a 2.1 per cent pay rise. Katy offers