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Fourth NHS agency to be led by City figure

Published on: 25 Mar 2022

The government agency that provides back-office business services across the NHS has appointed a former banker as its new chair.

Sue Douthwaite has been made chair of the NHS Business Services Authority for a three-year term starting in April. This makes NHSBSA the fourth arm’s-length body to appoint a chair or chief with a background in financial services.

In the past few months, NHS England and the Care Quality Commission have appointed chairs who had careers in the City, while the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has appointed a CEO with a background in insurance. 

NHSBSA provides a wide array of services such as running the NHS pensions service, the national electronic staff record, processing all prescriptions dispensed in primary care and facilitating payments to GPs.

It also runs citizen-focused services, including the system that provides patients with exemptions to help with costs of their healthcare like prescriptions or travel to hospital.

Ms Douthwaite joins the organisation after a career in banking and financial services. Previously she worked for eight years at Santander, between 2011 and 2019, becoming managing director of the firm’s UK business banking division.

She subsequently moved to Virgin Money where she ran its operation as head of strategy for small and medium-sized enterprises. She left in 2020.

Ms Douthwaite is now on the board of several organisations in the financial services sector, as well as the advisory boards for two universities.

She said, in a statement: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining NHSBSA as its new chair… My first priority will be taking time to get to know the business and I’m looking forward to meeting as many colleagues as possible, learn about what they do and hearing their views.”

Michael Brodie, NHSBSA chief executive, said: “I’m thrilled that Sue will be joining us, bringing with her a wealth of experience. She will be building on all the fantastic work that Silla [Maizey, NHSBSA’s departing chair] has done to date and I know she will be a real asset to our organisation.”