The appointment of Nigel Crisp as head (Permanent Secretary) of the Department of Health and Chief Executive of the NHS Executive puts in place the final piece of the jigsaw in the new approach to managing the UK health service. In this dual role he will manage 1 million staff and a 50 billion pound budget. He was formerly regional NHS director for London.The roles of departmental head and chief executive have been amalgamated to align with the creation of a Modernisation Board which has the job of driving forward the 10 year NHS Plan. Implementation of the Plan will be spearheaded by 10 new task forces.
The Board is made up of stakeholders in the health service. It includes representatives of patients, workers in the health service such as GPs and members of the Royal Colleges of Midwives, Nursing, Surgeons and Physicians, as well as representatives from local government and the voluntary sector. The Board will advise ministers and report annually on progress with implementing the Plan.
The adoption of the project model for change management of the reform programme is a radical departure from old style arrangements where the Department decided policy and the Executive put it into action. With the new model the task forces will report direct to the Board with its wide range of expertise and interests and Ministerial backing. In this way much of the additional work created by putting reforms into action will be handled by change implementers and the new project command chain will by-pass the labyrinth of management structures and processes.