Ex-Blair adviser linked to US healthcare giant is new NHS boss

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A former adviser to Tony Blair who has spent a decade at the top of an American private healthcare giant has been appointed to run the NHS in England.

Simon Stevens, the architect of Labour’s health reforms who left the UK in 2004 to take up a lucrative post at the American company UnitedHealth, was welcomed by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, as a “reformer and an innovator”.

But his selection as chief executive of NHS England will raise concerns among critics who claim the NHS is being “softened up for privatisation”.

… one senior doctor told The Independent that the medical profession may view Mr Stevens with suspicion. “Clinicians will remember him as an architect of New Labour’s marketisation of the health service,” he said. “He was very pro the idea of opening up provision to multiple providers. He was keen on having competition as a lever in the NHS… Nicholson was seen as a centralist, very into the state. Stevens will be seen as the opposite. A lot of the profession, especially those committed to traditional NHS values will see this as a very different slant.”

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