Professor Sir Malcolm Grant has stepped down from his role to be replaced by Lord Prior of Brampton. Lord Prior has a wealth of experience in public roles, including at the then Department of Health and the Care Quality Commission. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has lauded this experience, describing Lord Prior as “enormously qualified”.
Mike Thompson of the ABPI welcomes the news, saying:
“I am delighted that Lord David Prior has been announced as the new Chair of NHS England. Lord Prior has demonstrated in his previous posts a strong commitment to getting innovative medicines and treatments to NHS patients faster. I look forward to working with him in his new role to help deliver the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and other key projects. As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS, this is a great opportunity to work together to ensure that the UK can become an even stronger epicentre of science and innovative health-care.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Sir Malcolm Grant for all of his work as Chair, who has been a fantastic advocate for patients and the NHS.”
The BBC reports that there are concerns voiced in some quarters that the appointment could be seen as politicising a formerly non-political role. Paul Williams MP, a Labour member of the health committee said:
“Lord Prior has got experience, he has got expertise but he is a politician. He is a politician in what should be a non-political role.”