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Sloman and Ferris to leave NHS England

Published on: 3 May 2023

Two top-level NHS England directors have announced they are leaving the organisation after about two years in their current posts.

The organisation’s chief operating officer Sir David Sloman and director of transformation Tim Ferris will both leave by September, it was announced to staff this afternoon

Sir David took up the COO role in December 2021, joining from his role as NHSE regional director for London. Dr Ferris joined NHS England in March 2021, from Massachusetts General Physicians Organisation in Boston.

Sir Jim Mackey, currently NHSE’s director of elective recovery, will become interim chief operating officer for NHSE following Sir David’s retirement. He will remain part-time in his role as chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust. He was previously chief executive of NHS Improvement from 2015 to 2017.

Professor Ferris’s role will be covered by Vin Diwakar on an interim basis. Dr Diwakar is currently medical director for secondary care in the transformation directorate and before that had been regional medical director for London.

Professor Ferris was the inaugural director of transformation and part of his role was to bring NHSX into the expaded NHS England in 2021.

Dr Ferris was initially seconded to the NHSE role for two years, HSJ understands, although no end date was ever announced.

NHSE chief executive Amanda Pritchard praised the contribution both had made during their tenure and previous roles.

In an email to staff she said: “David has made an outstanding contribution to the NHS and I am hugely grateful for his leadership and support for the NHS and the country as a whole.

“His career has spanned 40 years, including being group chief executive of the Royal Free London Foundation Trust and leading London as the Regional Director during the height of the pandemic.

“I know colleagues across the health family will miss the vast expertise and skill David brings to his role, alongside his inimitable humour and positive, values driven approach.”

She praised Professor Ferris’s work on the NHS app and recruitment to the NHS-Galleri study into early cancer detection. She said: “Tim has been instrumental in ensuring we maintain the pace of innovation seen during the pandemic, in particular using data to improve health and reduce inequalities.”

Ms Pritchard added: “We will confirm plans for the recruitment to the permanent positions of COO and national director of transformation in due course.”

The news comes as NHSE undergoes a huge restructure, merging with Health Education England and NHS Digital earlier this year, and removing about 6,000 posts across the three.