Amanda Pritchard appointed Chief Executive Officer for NHS England


  Posted by: Dental Design      29th July 2021

Amanda Pritchard will be the first woman in the history of the National Health Service to hold the post of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for NHS England, which she will take up on Sunday 1st August after serving as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for two years.

Pritchard’s appointment follows an open and competitive recruitment process by the Board of NHS England and NHS Improvement. According to the NHS website, she will be responsible for an annual budget of more than £130 billion while ensuring that everyone in the country receives high quality care.

“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,” said Pritchard. “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.”

What might this mean for dentistry?

Although Amanda Pritchard has not had the chance to discuss dentistry since the announcement of her new appointment, GDPUK reports that, in 2020, she stood to bat for the profession by providing oral evidence to the parliamentary Health and Social Care Committee on the ‘Delivery of Core NHS and Care Services during the pandemic and beyond’.

At that time, Pritchard is on the record as saying: “Dentistry is a hugely important service. We are very much aware that the whole of the dental sector has, as has the rest of the NHS, stepped up through the Covid crisis despite considerable pressures on their services. Our particular responsibility is to NHS dental practitioners. What we have done is maintain a roll-over contract model from last year, so that there is stability and a reliable source of income that is separated from the amount of activity that is being done at the moment. Exactly as you say, in common with the rest of the NHS, there are real constraints around the productivity that dental services are able to operate. At the moment, balancing safety and patient needs, we absolutely support dentists making some local judgments about what the right balance is to make sure they are able to operate safely.

“From an NHS perspective, we are working closely with the BDA around things like PPE costs. We are conscious, as has been mentioned, that both the demand for PPE and the price of PPE has risen, so we are very keen to continue working with the BDA to make sure that we support NHS dentists through that.”

Time will tell as to whether the CEO of NHS England can help to bring some reform to NHS dentistry in the country.

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