New NHS England Chief Executive

It has been announced that Simon Stevens is to take over the role of Chief Executive of NHS England from 1st October 2014. The current Chief Executive is Sir David Nicolson.

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, said: “Simon has an extraordinary reputation in the UK and abroad as a reformer and an innovator, and we are lucky to have someone of his calibre doing such a vital role. He will make a key contribution to the two biggest challenges facing the NHS right now: how to raise standards of care and also be financially sustainable.

Although Mr Stevens has been working in the United States for the past 3 years, he has significant senior experience of the UK health service, having held various management positions including one in St Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital Trust. He then went on to work directly with Tony Blair until 2004.

Mr Stevens has agreed to a 10% reduction on the usual Chief Executive salary in light of the current spending pressures in the NHS.

NHS overhaul

Responsibility for spending will shift towards GPs and other clinicians and away from primary care trusts (PCTs) as part of radical plans to overhaul the NHS.

The Government believes that the changes are required to make the service more efficient. However, funding the changes will come from more than 20,000 redundancies of management and administration staff from health authorities and PCTs.

Although the NHS budget is protected, it still recognises the need to make savings.

Care Worker’s Ongoing Strike

Care workers in Rochdale have held a series of 10 day strikes beginning in the summer in protest at imposed wage cuts.

One worker has said that her take home pay has been cut by almost half, leaving her around £500 per month worse off.

The workers work for Future Directions and are all members of trade union Unison. The workers are commissioned by Rochdale Council to look after disabled adults in their own home. The cuts happened when Future Directions won the contract and inherited the workers from various care providers.

Basic pay rates, sick pay and unsociable allowances rates were all cut when the contract was taken over.