By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Exclusive: NHS chief exec David Nicholson to retire next March

Sir David Nicholson will retire in March next year from his post as NHS England chief executive.

NHS England staff have just been informed of the plan, according to information passed to Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.

A successor will be found over the next 11 months. NHS England was due to publish letters between its chair Professor Malcolm Grant and Sir David imminently.

It follows intense scrutiny of Sir David’s role and leadership following the publication of the Francis report into Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust in February.

Sir David was appointed NHS chief executive in 2007.

In a letter to Professor Grant, Sir David said: “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 Grant replied: “Sir David’s career within the NHS over 35 years has been exceptional, and his leadership through the radical changes in the NHS of the past two years has been absolutely fundamental to their success.

“In particular, the establishment, set-up and launch of NHS England has been an immensely difficult task, undertaken by Sir David concurrently with leading the NHS in its former guise. Thanks to Sir David’s leadership we are now in as good a position as we could be to take on the challenges that lie ahead.”

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Under Sir David Nicholson’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.

“I am also grateful to him for overseeing the successful setting up of NHS England and giving us an orderly period in which to select his successor.”

Readers' comments (28)

  • michael stone

    This 'compromise' was widely touted a while ago, when he was being criticised from most sides.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • how far is he off retirement age?

    hopefully his role in Mid Staffs an any other involvement of hospitals in his charge is to be fully investigated?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • good riddance to bad rubbish

    is he going to face criminal proceedings over mid staffs....he,s a friend of cameron...what do you think!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • tinkerbell

    retire, should be sacked, as most of them should be sacked.

    Anonymous | 21-May-2013 6:51 pm

    'good riddance to bad rubbish'

    totally agree. Such a sadness that any good works he may have achieved were swept away by the failure to deal with Mid staffs, especially for the relatives of those who died needlessly from negligence.


    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Once again, appalling mismanagement and very possibly criminal neglect rewarded with a big fat pension and the complete avoidance of consequences for disasters like mid staffs. The families of those who died must be sick!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Incompetence, a bullying attitude and arrogance combine uniquely in senior NHS "managers". As Nicholson has demonstrated so well this is the way to "success"

    All clinical staff should be united in calling for (demanding) "managers" to be held accountable for the mess they make.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • tinkerbell

    how convenient that nicholson leaves via the backdoor the month before all these reforms kick in big time. This unelected government think we are such fools that we won't make any connection between Lansley, Nicholson et al.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Under Sir David Nicholson’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.
    AND PRESIDED OVER THE MOST HARM CAUSED TO PATIENTS EVER....GOOD JOB HE IS CHUMS WITH ALL THE RIGHT PEOPLE...FAT PENSION....FOR THE MOST INCOMPETENT LEADER EVER

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • It is not at all surprising. Do you think he will really be retiring? I doubt it. Very soon we will hear that he has been given some fantastic, massively paid job in another sector, (influenced by his Government buddies). He will be leaving the NHS with a golden handshake. Who will take the job on though? No-one with any sense, sadly. It would be so nice to get someone who REALLY cares for standards with a clear knowledge of a modern health and social care service and a realistic vision. Someone who can take charge, not be a political puppet doing what the Government wants but a strong, knowledgable, intelligent, honest, hardworking person who will truly engage with the NHS workers. My bet is that we will get another failed CEO, who can talk the talk and not do or say anything who will just kow-tow to the Government and just spin yarns to the rest of us. Well, fingers crossed for someone decent. We can but hope. Please, please....

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Anonymous | 22-May-2013 12:13 pm


    "Who will take the job on though?"

    may I heartily recommend Messrs. Virgin, McDonalds and Starbucks and as possible deputies Messrs EasyJet and Ryanair. All enjoy an excellent CEO reputation and undoubtedly have unblemished CVs to match!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Does this spell the end of the NHS all together? It would appear a criminal inquiry is justified for corporate manslaughter. From Francis and other enquiries it would appear that management have been almost completely let of the hook and nurses are taking the blame again. Sir N should be stripped of his honour and serve time, or have I been mislead? This government seems to want to just run the NHS into the ground, rather than take on those responsible for the poor care, those who manage the service and government who have been cutting spending in real terms for years now.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Anonymous | 22-May-2013 12:07 pm

    Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Under Sir David Nicholson’s leadership, NHS waiting times have fallen, infection rates reduced, and mixed sex accommodation is at an all-time low.

    I guess it depends how the statistics were manipulated and I am pretty sure, one way or another, they will have been.
    Isn't that part of the problem? people like Nicholson "deliver" what the government want to hear . No wonder he has been supported by Cameron et al throughout.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • tinkerbell

    one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • tinkerbell

    speaking recently to a colleague about how i have had a severe arthritic response to the Hep B vaccine and tetanus vaccine booster I said 'apparently it only affects 3% of the population'.

    He replied and made my laugh by saying 'you have now become a statistic'.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • tinkerbell

    we live in a society made up of systems and anybody using these unavoidable systems is a statistic. healthcare and the NHS is no exception.

    clever companies train their front line staff to make their clients/patients, etc. feel valued for their own gains but as their information moves up the admin. system of paperwork which is only interested in throughput, productivity, billing, marketing and sales or whatever the business of the company users are no more than statistics! haven't you noticed at your utilities or your bank you are reduced to a mere account number! cf births, marriages, deaths, acquiring a home, its type and size and the services used, every disease you catch and even minor parameters such as your blood pressure. These no longer belong to you but are all recorded so that everybody can be classified into these at different stages of their lives and turned into a statistic.

    In the meantime you can delude yourself by making your own personal connections, find a partner, ground a family so you have people who may care about you, but at the end of the day, have no illusions, you are only a statistic which comes and goes on this planet like every other living being from ashes to ashes, dust to dust, where with any luck you may finally cease to be a statistic but you will have left your indelible mark on the records.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • tinkerbell

    yes i do get it but it's a bit too lengthy to have inscribed on my tomb stone. I'll just have 'here lies a statistic'.:)

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • tinkerbell | 25-May-2013 9:52 am

    a very noble epitaph for somebody who has sacrificed so much for her country!

    I must apologise as I never inquired after, or showed any empathy for, your 3% affliction which must really be considered by a colleague as more than a statistic. could it be that you already had a predisposition to such a condition* which is exacerbated by the injections? in any case hopefully it is reversible and will soon go away as I appreciate it can be very painful, debilitating and unpleasant.

    *I was going to say age related but when I showed my GP my finger he said it can begin as early as 25 years and showed my his gnarled fingers and I guess he is in his mid 40s.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • tinkerbell

    thank you, it feels better already now you have empathised, such good medicine but not be taken for granted. Yes i must be very sensitive to almost everything and my body reacts by trying to beat me up and fight off the intruders by causing arthirits and my hair to fall out in bald patches, making me look not dissimilar to a cabbage patch doll.

    Autoimmune disorders. If it's not one thing it's your mother.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • tinkerbell | 25-May-2013 1:21 pm

    thought I had lost my six Cs there for a moment! isn't it time Come ons issued these promised credit card sized reminders before we forget them completely?

    by the way, just discovered that Apgar was the name of the person as well as the inventor of the APGAR Score mnemonics. I was just wondering if I could make something worthy along the lines of the six Cs out of my surname but it is proving very difficult! Might as well put it to some good use as it is the end of the line!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • tinkerbell

    put it up for auction or on ebay and give the money to charity. Shame to waste a good name:)

    Unsuitable or offensive?

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Related Jobs

Sign in to see the latest jobs relevant to you!

newsletterpromo