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Ex-minister and ‘Compare the Market’ chief join NHSE board

Published on: 21 Feb 2024

A former Conservative minister, GP leader, business chief, and an eminent healthcare scientist are joining the NHS England board, nearly a year after the non-executive director posts were advertised.

The government, which is responsible for appointing NHSE’s non-executives, first advertised the four posts last March.

As long ago as early October, NHS England chair Richard Meddings told his board that candidates had been selected and were awaiting approval from Downing Street and the Department of Health and Social Care, and he hoped they would be announced soon.

The appointees are:

  • Mark Bailie, who has been CEO of price comparison website Compare the Market since 2020, following a career in banking and financial services, including running digital retail services, and was also drafted in during the pandemic to help set up “test and trace”;
  • Former Conservative MP Jane Ellison, who was minister for public health from 2013-2016, then after losing her seat in 2017 worked as a director of the World Health Organisation until 2022; 
  • Dame Helen Stokes-Lampard, a GP in the West Midlands, and former chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Royal College of GPs; and
  • Sir Robert Lechler, is an eminent academic immunologist, emeritus professor at King’s College London, former dean of King’s Medical School, former director of King’s Health Partners, and a former president of the Academy of Medical Science.

NHSE said it will also shortly announce two new associate non-executive directors, with expertise in workforce and large systems technology, to help oversee the responsibilities it took on when merged with Health Education England and NHS Digital.

Mr Meddings said in a statement:  “I’m delighted that we are adding such a strong level and range of expertise to the NHS England board.”