NHS England has hired a senior director from Health Education England to lead its work with particularly struggling trusts and systems.
Mark Radford — who becomes national director for intensive support ahead of what is expected to be a hugely pressured winter — is currently chief nurse of HEE and a deputy chief nursing officer.
Professor Radford will remain a deputy CNO under the arrangement, which comes in advance of the formal merger of NHS England and Health Education England, expected to be completed in April. He will also remain chief nurse of HEE until the merger is complete.
A new workforce directorate in NHSE, run by current HEE chief Navina Evans, will combine HEE functions and NHSE’s current “people” directorate. A design for this structure is said to be close to complete.
Professor Radford has been HEE chief nurse since 2019, before that working for NHS Improvement and as chief nurse of University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust. Before that he was a consultant nurse in Birmingham.
His new role, reporting to NHSE chief operating officer Sir David Sloman, will involve leading NHSE’s work with “the most challenged organisations across the NHS, working closely with national and regional directors, providers, [integrated care boards] and other partners, including the [Care Quality Commission] and government”, according to an internal announcement.
Professor Radford said: “I am delighted to be taking up this exciting and important role while continuing as chief nurse at HEE for the coming months. I look forward to getting on the road to visit organisations that need our support the most, and meeting frontline staff and leaders in their places of work in order to understand their issues and how best we can get alongside them to help drive improvements.”
Sir David said “the need for high-quality support for challenged systems has never been more pressing”, and thanked Caroline Kurzeja for “acting up into the role in recent months”. Dr Evans said it was “another positive step toward closer working, ahead of formal transition to the new [NHSE] next year”.
Chief nursing officer Dame Ruth May said: “Continuing in the deputy chief nursing officer for England role, Mark will also be able to bring invaluable insight ensuring the collective, professional voice of nursing and midwifery is included in this crucial work.”