Headlines: March 8th, 2006

The body that represents managers within the National Health Service has asked for an early meeting with senior staff at the Department of Health after the announcement that Sir Nigel Crisp is retiring early from his post as Chief Executive of the NHS. The Institute of Healthcare Management wants to meet the Acting Chief Executive, Sir Ian Carruthers, and Hugh Taylor, the Acting Permanent Secretary at the Department.The IHM’s interim Chief Executive Jeremy Millar said the organisation had worked closely with Sir Nigel and as long standing member of the Institute he had understood the vital role of good management in delivering better patient services faster.

“He has overseen significant increases in Government spending on the NHS, but equally he was responsible for driving through huge structural changes. History will judge whether the pace of those changes has been accelerated beyond the capacity of the system to cope with them without the financial stresses, currently apparent in the system, becoming so pronounced,” said Mr. Millar.

Sir Nigel, Mr. Millar said, had not shied away from accepting his responsibility for the 800 million pound plus forecast deficit in the NHS. “Despite this problem, it would be churlish of the Institute not to acknowledge that Sir Nigel has led some significant improvements in the Service too.” Mr. Millar added.

Announcing his departure Sir Nigel said he was proud that it the last five years the NHS had achieved or exceeded the challenging targets it had been set. People had made enormous changes in the Service, he said, but added, “Not everything has gone well. I am particularly saddened by the difficulties we have had over the last few months and the financial problems we are grappling with. As Chief Executive, I wish to acknowledge my accountability for problems just as I may take some credit for achievements.”