Amanda Pritchard has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of NHS England, the first woman in the health service’s history to hold the post.

Pritchard will take over from Simon Stevens who announced in April that he would be stepping down as NHS Chief Executive after more than seven years in charge.

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She will begin her role on the 1st August and will be responsible for an annual budget of more than £130 billion.

Pritchard previously served as the NHS’ Chief Operating Officer for two years and was formerly an adviser in Tony Blair’s government.

As Chief Operating Officer, Pritchard has overseen NHS operational performance and delivery, as well as implementation of service transformation and patient care improvements set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

A critical moment for the NHS

Boris Johnson said he is “delighted” Amanda has been appointed the new NHS chief executive. He continued: “This is a critical moment for the NHS as it continues to care for Covid patients whilst tackling treatment backlogs caused by the pandemic.

"Amanda’s experience and expertise mean she is perfectly placed to address these issues and more, and I look forward to working closely with her."

With the Covid-19 pandemic still ongoing, the resulting backlog of patients, and cases of flu and other winter viruses expected to rise in the winter, Pritchard has a mammoth task on her hands. Even so, Pritchard says she is ready to “face the future with confidence”.

She said: "I am honoured to lead the NHS, particularly as the first woman chief executive of an organisation whose staff are more than three quarters female.

"I have always been incredibly proud to work in the health service but never more so than over the last 18 months as nurses, doctors, therapists, paramedics, pharmacists, porters, cleaners and other staff have responded so magnificently to the Covid pandemic.

"There are big challenges ahead as NHS staff continue to deal with significant pressures while maintaining the roll-out of the hugely successful NHS vaccination programme and tackle backlogs that have inevitably built up in the face of rising Covid infections.

"However the skill, determination and ‘can do’ spirit that NHS staff have shown in the face of the greatest challenge in the health service’s history means we face the future with confidence."