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Major shake-up in NHSI and NHSE joint structure as Ian Dalton steps down

Ian Dalton has announced he is stepping down as the chief executive of NHS Improvement (NHSI), with NHS England’s (NHSE) CEO Simon Stevens to lead both teams.

The news comes ahead of major policy changes towards joined-up working between NHSI and NHSE – and new briefing proposals suggest that both organisations believe “legislative change would support more rapid progress.”

Ian Dalton will step down as leader of NHSI and it is expected that a new chief operating officer will be appointed and formally designated as NHS Improvement chief executive.

In a statement, Dalton said: “I feel a degree of personal regret that I will not be part of the joint organisation that will turn the NHS Long Term Plan into action, but it is the right decision to make this change at this time.”

NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said: “If the intention is to bring NHS England and NHS Improvement closer together, it is logical to move to a single senior leadership structure across both organisations, led by a single chief executive.

“Ian Dalton has shown the importance of senior arm’s length body leaders understanding the needs of those responsible for frontline service delivery and supporting them to provide outstanding patient care.

“Ian’s work to secure a realistic financial settlement for providers in 2019/20, create a more sustainable financial architecture and develop an implementation framework for the long-term plan have all been good examples of the arm’s length body support the frontline needs.

“Provider leaders will want to thank Ian for the excellent work he has done and support he has given. They will also wish him well for the future.”

NHSE and NHSI previously announced a new leadership team to oversee the two organisations and help implement the long-term plan, with regional teams playing a “major leadership role” in the new joint structure.

It was reported then that the new leadership team would be led by both chief executives Dalton and Stevens, and the organisations indicated that law prevented them appointing a single chair and chief executive.

However, they now state that whilst Stevens is the leader of NHSI, the new chief operating officer replacing Dalton will be the formally designated chief executive of NHSI.

Dalton reportedly did not want to apply for the new post.

The two organisations have also made a series of changes to their joint structure proposed last year, with a shared single communications officer and joint strategy director.

Baroness Dido Harding will chair the joint organisation’s delivery, quality and performance committee and NHSE chair Lord Prior will chair the joint strategy committee.


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