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Labour plan to install party loyalist as NHS Chair

By July 2, 2024July 3rd, 2024No Comments

Labour plans to remove the chair of NHS England if it wins the election, replacing him with a party loyalist to help implement its strategy to revive the health service.

The party is considering candidates such as former health secretary Alan Milburn, ex-home secretary Jacqui Smith, and Sally Morgan, who was Tony Blair’s political secretary, to replace Meddings. He is viewed by those in the Labour Party as a Tory, having been appointed by Sajid Javid in 2022.

Labour aims to appoint a senior figure from its previous stint in power to gain more control over NHS England, which became independent from the government following changes made in 2012 by then-Conservative health secretary Andrew Lansley.

Shadow Home Secretary Wes Streeting wants to ensure that a new chair will support his ambitious goals to meet key waiting time targets in A&E and for planned hospital treatment by the next election in 2029.

Plans to replace Meddings after the election are widely known within the NHS. The three main contenders for his position all have significant experience with the NHS.

Whoever Labour appoints will be required to improve the strained relations between NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care. Insiders have reported that the relationship is at its nadir due to recent behind-the-scenes conflicts between NHS England’s chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, and health secretaries, particularly Steve Barclay, over funding and priorities.

Ben Kemp