Simon Stevens (NHS England)

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Simon Stevens
Simon Stevens.jpg
Stevens in 2016
Chief Executive of NHS England
Assumed office
1 April 2014
Preceded bySir David Nicholson
Lambeth Borough Councillor for Angell Ward
In office
7 May 1998 – 2 May 2002
Personal details
BornShard End, Birmingham, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
University of Strathclyde

Simon Stevens (born 4 August 1966) is a British health manager, public policy analyst and politician. His appointment[1] as chief executive of NHS England with effect from 1 April 2014 was announced in October 2013, succeeding David Nicholson. He was said by the Health Service Journal in December 2013 to be the second most powerful person in the English NHS, even though he had not yet taken up his appointment.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Simon Stevens was born on 4 August 1966 in Birmingham, England.[3] He was educated at St. Bartholomew's School and Balliol College, Oxford where he was president of the Oxford Union in the same academic year as close friend Boris Johnson. He received an MBA from the University of Strathclyde, and was a Harkness Fellow at Columbia University, New York. His wife, Maggie, who is an American public health specialist, gave birth to their son on Christmas Day 2003 at St Thomas' Hospital.[4]

Labour Party[edit]

Stevens was a Labour councillor for Brixton, in the London Borough of Lambeth 1998–2002.


From 1988 to 1997 Stevens worked as healthcare manager in the UK and internationally. He started his NHS professional career on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme with a week's work experience as a hospital porter and doing paperwork in a mortuary in Durham. Later, he moved on to be general manager for mental health services at North Tyneside and Northumberland and later group manager of Guy's and St Thomas’ hospitals in London.[5]

In 1997 he was appointed policy adviser to two Secretaries of State for Health (Frank Dobson and Alan Milburn) and from 2001 to 2004 was health policy adviser to Tony Blair. He was closely associated with the development of the NHS Plan 2000.


From 2004 to 2006 Stevens was president of UnitedHealth Europe and moved on to be chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement and then president, Global Health, and UnitedHealth Group executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group. During this time he also served on the boards of various non-profits, including the King's Fund; the Nuffield Trust; the Minnesota Historical Society; the Minnesota Opera; the Medicare Rights Center (New York); and the Commonwealth Fund (New York).

In October 2013, the speaker biography of Stevens for a health networking conference read: "His responsibilities include leading UnitedHealth’s strategy for, and engagement with, national health reform, ensuring its businesses are positioned for changes in the market and regulatory environment."[6]

While in the USA, living in Minnesota, he continued to write articles about the NHS.

Chief executive of NHS England[edit]

Stevens has repeatedly said that the traditional system of GP surgeries being totally separate from hospitals is ‘past its use-by date’. He told the Royal College of General Practitioners in October 2014, "We need to tear up the design flaw in the 1948 NHS model where family doctors were organised entirely separately from hospital specialists and where patients with chronic health conditions are increasingly passed from pillar to post between different bits of health and social services."[7]

He was responsible for the Five Year Forward View produced by NHS England in October 2014. As of 2015, Stevens was paid a salary of between £190,000 and £194,999 by NHS England, making him one of the 328 most highly paid people in the British public sector at that time.[8]

According to Fraser Nelson, hiring Stevens back to run NHS England was one of the cleverest moves that David Cameron has made because he "knows more about NHS problems and market solutions than any man alive".[9]

Stevens appeared on Any Questions? in November 2015.[10]

He proposed, in January 2016, to impose a 20% sugar tax on food and drink in NHS hospital cafes, justifying the proposal by saying, "Because of the role that the NHS occupies in national life, all of us working in the NHS have a responsibility not just to support those who look after patients, but also to draw attention to and make the case for some of the wider changes that will actually improve the health of this country. It's not just the well-being of people in this country and our children. But it's also the sustainability of the NHS itself." In March 2016 Chancellor George Osborne announced a tax on sugary drinks.[11]

Jon Ashworth expressed support for him just before the United Kingdom general election, 2017. However, Ashworth later criticised Stevens plans for NHS reform. [12]



  1. ^ England, NHS (2013-10-24). "NHS England » Simon Stevens Appointed as new Chief Executive of NHS England". Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  2. ^ "HSJ100 2013 The annual list of the most influential people in health". Health Service Journal. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  3. ^ "STEVENS, Simon Laurence". Who's Who 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Simon Stevens interview: 'The NHS is a social movement and not just a health care service'". The Guardian. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Simon Stevens: new NHS chief executive with a private past". Guardian. 23 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  6. ^ Simon, Stevens. "Speaker Biography, World Congress". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Open GP clinics in hospitals, says NHS head: More surgeries needed for rise in patients and to ease strain on doctors". Daily Mail. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Senior officials 'high earners' salaries as at 30 September 2015 - GOV.UK". 2015-12-17. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  9. ^ "The NHS Wales disaster vindicates Tony Blair, not David Cameron". The Spectator. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  10. ^ "David Gauke MP, Bronwen Maddox, John McDonnell MP, Simon Stevens". BBC Any Questions. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  11. ^ "NHS England 'to impose 20% sugar tax' in hospital cafes". BBC News. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  12. ^ Lintern, Shaun (7 June 2017). "Ashworth: Labour backs Simon Stevens but new body will review STPs". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 10 July 2017.