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Government hires banker to lead NHS England

Published on: 23 Dec 2021

The government has selected a senior banker and non-executive director of the Treasury to chair NHS England.

Richard Meddings was until recently chair of TSB Bank and has held numerous senior executive and non-executive positions in British banking firms.

He is also currently a non-executive director of the Treasury, and chair of Teach First, a not-for-profit scheme which coordinates teacher-training and aims to improve education standards in deprived areas.

It is unclear which of the roles, if any, he will step down from when he joins NHSE.

Mr Meddings appears to have no previous NHS roles or experience.

The current NHSE chair, Lord David Prior, previously worked as an investment banker, but is also a former Conservative health minister and MP, and had chaired several NHS organisations before joining NHSE. He is due to step down early next year.

The government has selected him as its preferred candidate for the role. The role is subject to a public confirmatory hearing by the Commons health and social care committee. Although the committee cannot block the appointment, it can advise government for or against.

The Telegraph, which broke the story of Mr Meddings’ appointment, quotes a Whitehall source as saying he “will bring an outsider’s eye to the NHS”.

He said: “We can’t have business as usual when it comes to the health service – reform is needed to deliver an NHS that serves patients for years to come.”

A government announcement this afternoon said: “Sajid Javid, the secretary of state for health and social care, has today invited the health and social care committee to hold a pre-appointment scrutiny hearing with Richard.

“Richard was until recently the chair of TSB Bank and is a non-executive director at Credit Suisse and HM Treasury. He is a chartered accountant by background and the former Group Finance Director for Standard Chartered bank.

“He was selected following an open public appointment process to appoint a successor to Lord David Prior.

“Following the select committee hearing, the committee will set out its views on the candidate’s suitability for the role. The secretary of state will then consider the committee’s report before making a final decision on the appointment.”