Former Banker Meddings Named Chair of NHS England

Dr Rob Hicks

January 25, 2022

The Government confirmed that Richard Meddings CBE will be the new Chair of NHS England, saying that Mr Meddings had been appointed following “a fair and open competition”.

The former banker and Wolverhampton Wanderers football supporter succeeds Lord Prior, who has been in post since 2018.

Mr Meddings is currently a non-executive director at Credit Suisse and served as a non-executive board member of HM Treasury until December 2021. He was previously Chair of TSB Bank, and recently gained a CBE in the 2022 New Year Honours list for services to the financial sector.

A Lack of Health and Social Care Experience

In December 2021, Mr Meddings was confirmed at the Government’s preferred choice for the role. During a hearing with the Health and Social Care Committee on January 18, 2022, concerns were raised over Mr Meddings’ “lack of specific experience of the health and social care sectors”, with it being highlighted that previous Chairs of NHS England have “usually had experience working in health and social care, or in NHS Trusts.”

Whilst recognising his lack of direct experience, Mr Meddings reasoned that the role was essentially a “governance role”. He also told the hearing how he was “keen to immerse himself in the issues to gain an understanding of the challenges the sector is facing.”

Announcing the appointment, the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, said that he was “delighted to confirm Richard Meddings CBE’s appointment as the new Chair of NHS England”. He added, “Richard brings to the role a wealth of experience in both the public and private sectors, including years of management in the financial services industry.”

Recover from COVID, Tackle the Backlog

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that throughout his career Mr Meddings has “led change and reform at the highest levels, and has a strong record of achievement”. This experience will stand him in good stead when, as Mr Javid commented, the NHS is supported “to recover from COVID-19, tackle the backlog and back our incredible healthcare staff”. Mr Meddings’ new role as Chair of NHS England will involve leading the NHS recovery from the pandemic and expanding the NHS workforce.

In response to the announcement Mr Meddings said, “It is a great honour to have been appointed as Chair of NHS England”. He acknowledged that a number of “significant and long-running challenges” will need to be addressed, many of which have been made sharper by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.” He said that as he commences his new role, “I am humbled by and pay a huge tribute to the people of the NHS for their heroic work and their continuing commitment.”

Mr Meddings will begin the 4-year role as Chair of NHS England in March 2022 and intends the donate to charity the £63,000 salary that comes with the job, which involves working 2 to 3 days a week.

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