Richard Douglas (civil servant)

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Richard Philip Douglas CB (born 20 November 1956 in York, Yorkshire) is a British former senior civil servant and influential health leader. He previously served as Director General for Finance, Strategy and the NHS at the Department of Health.[1]

Early life[edit]

Douglas attended Archbishop Holgate's School in York, and after completing his A-levels, he studied for a BA in English Literature at the University of Hull. After graduating, he married in 1978 and embarked upon his civil service career the same year.

Civil Service career[edit]

Douglas started his career in public sector finance in 1978 with HM Customs and Excise,[2] and later the National Audit Office (NAO) where he qualified as an accountant (CIPFA) in 1983.[2] He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.[3] In his time with the NAO, he worked in most areas of central government: health, employment, home affairs, defence and agriculture.

In 2001, Douglas joined the Department of Health's board. Retiring from the civil service in April 2015, Douglas was the longest-serving Director General of Finance in the UK Government, having served since 2007.[4] From 2011 to 2014, Douglas also served as head of the Government Finance Profession, a position appointed by HM Treasury.[3]

He was said by the Health Service Journal to be the twelfth most powerful person in the English NHS in December 2013.[5]

In March 2016, Douglas became Deputy Chair of NHS Improvement. During this time, he stepped in as Interim Chair from July–October 2017.[6][7] In June 2018, he was appointed as a Non-Executive Director at NHS England.[8][9] He stepped down from the NHS England and NHS Improvement Board in March 2020.[10][11]

He currently serves as Chair of the South East London integrated care system (ICS), and is responsible for overseeing healthcare planning and delivery at the ICS level.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Douglas is married with three children.

In 2003 he was awarded membership of The Gild of Freemen of the City of York, the city in which he was born.

In 2006 he was awarded membership of the Order of the Bath (CB) for services to health at an investiture at Buckingham Palace.[13]


  1. ^ "Our people". Incisive Health. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Richard Douglas rewarded for civil service career". Civil Service World. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Richard Douglas". Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Revealed: Former NHS Money Boss Richard Douglas Is Now Working for the People Trying to Dismantle It". 3 March 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  5. ^ "HSJ100 2013 The annual list of the most influential people in health". Health Service Journal. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Douglas takes over as NHS Improvement chair | Public Finance". 21 July 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  7. ^ "HM Government Public Appointments: Chair – NHS Improvement". Cabinet Office. 20 October 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  8. ^ "Non-Executive Director of NHS England". 16 January 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  9. ^ "New health leaders to drive health and care in London". NHS England. 16 January 2020. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  10. ^ "Monitor: Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20" (PDF). NHS Improvement. 28 January 2021. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  11. ^ "NHS England: Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20" (PDF). NHS England. 28 January 2021. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  12. ^ "New Chair announced for South East London Integrated Care System". Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  13. ^ "New Year Honours List 2006" (PDF). 1 January 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 January 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2008.