Big news for the NHS that Sir Simon Stevens is stepping down. A thread...
When we recruited for a successor to Sir David Nicholson in 2013, there was a good deal of trepidation about the role following controversy over the 2012 Act. Simon, however, was the standout candidate and hiring him remains one of the best decisions I have ever taken.
Despite his time as a special adviser in No 10 and in the private sector in the US, SImon has always been NHS to his core. But neither he nor I knew just how bumpy things would become with immense operational and financial pressures across the NHS and social care system.
We had a symbiotic relationship: he gave the NHS confidence they had one of their own at the top and I made sure its voice was heard loud and clear in government circles. That partnership ultimately meant a successful negotiation for a 10 year plan & £20 bn budget uplift in 2018
Simon is a formidable operator, taking more trouble to be briefed on key facts ahead of meetings with ministers or the PM than anyone else I met. He has the rare quality of being able to stay silent in meetings unless he has something important to say, a rare quality in Whitehall
But his skills as an operator should not be allowed to conceal his deeply-held passion and support for everything the NHS stands for. He will be remembered for giving the world's 5th largest organisation strategic direction at a time of great challenge.
The progress that will now be made changing the primary model of care towards integrated care will not become clear for a while, not least because it depends on new legislation we expect shortly - but it will none the less be enormous.
However the immediate dividend from his leadership has been the superb NHS response to the pandemic: every patient that needed a ventilator or ICU bed got one and we have rolled out the best vaccination programme in Europe. He should feel extremely proud today.

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More from @Jeremy_Hunt

28 Apr
Hospital acquired COVID-19 remains a major problem as it STILL accounts for 15% of COVID hospital patients:… It remains the biggest undiscussed problem in the pandemic to date: a thread.
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Time to act: thread on why we need to close schools, borders, and ban all household mixing RIGHT AWAY.
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As soon as the government officially moves us to the ‘delay’ stage, it is effectively confirming that an epidemic IS coming. So on the basis of the information we currently have, what's the outlook?
Yesterday was the first day confirmed new cases in the UK exceeded those in China (67 in the UK vs 40 in China). Last week Chris Whitty told the select committee he saw ‘no reason in theory why the UK would go higher than China.’ So how bad did it get in China?
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24 Jul 19
1/4 I would have been honoured to carry on my work at the FCO but understand the need for a new PM to choose his team. BJ kindly offered me another role but after 9 yrs in Cabinet & over 300 cab mtgs now is the time to return 2 backbenches from where PM will have my full support
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3/4 It has been a huge honour 2 be responsible 4 the finest diplomatic service in the world & 2 see the courage & wisdom of our diplomats & intelligence services. Thanks 4 guiding me with such patience & professionalism! Proud to have stood up alongside you for British values.
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