THE new chief executive of NHS England is the first woman to hold the post in history.
Amanda Pritchard is to become the top boss on August 1, taking over Lord Simon Stevens .
She will take over in the midst of a third wave of Covid-19 and as the NHS faces an unprecedented backlog of care, with more than five million on the waiting list.
Ms Pritchard has taken the job applied for by Tory peer Dido Harding – who has headed NHS Test and Trace – and KPMG's Mark Britnell.
She said: "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.
"I have always been incredibly proud to work in the health service but never more so than over the last 18 months…”
Ms Pritchard warned of ” big challenges ahead” for the health service , but said staff will “face the future with confidence”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "I am delighted Amanda has been appointed the new NHS chief executive, the first woman in the history of the health service to hold this post.
"This is a critical moment for the NHS as it continues to care for covid patients whilst tackling treatment backlogs caused by the pandemic.
"Amanda's experience and expertise mean she is perfectly placed to address these issues and more, and I look forward to working closely with her.”
Simon Stevens announced in April that he was stepping down as NHS chief executive at the end of this month after more than seven years in charge.
The PM thanked Lord Stevens for his leadership over the past seven years – especially when facing the extraordinary pressures of the pandemic.
Who is Amanda Pritchard?
Ms Pritchard is a married mother-of-three who has been working in the NHS for 25 years.
She joined the NHS through the graduate management training scheme in 1997 after studying at Oxford University.
And since then, Ms Pritchard has held a number of key roles across the health service, including running the busy London trust Guy's and St Thomas' and as chief executive of NHS Improvement.
She also served as a health team leader in the Cabinet Office's delivery unit and in the past two years, worked as chief operating officer under Lord Stevens.
The role of chief executive in the NHS in England was first created in 1985 and it is the first time that a woman has been given the title.
Ms Pritchard will be in charge of the NHS's annual budget of almost £150 billion and the service's 1.2 million staff.
According to the NHS England annual report for 2019/20, the chief executive salary was between £195,000 and £200,000.
The report stated that Lord Stevens had, during that year, voluntarily taken a £20,000 per annum pay cut for the sixth year in a row.
The chief executive of the NHS Providers organisation, Chris Hopson, said the wider NHS will "strongly welcome" Ms Pritchard's appointment.
"Over the last two years, trust leaders have welcomed Amanda's calm, team oriented, and effective national operational leadership of the NHS through one of the most challenging periods in its history," he said.
"She has a deep and strong connection with NHS frontline leaders and staff which will be much needed given the scale of the challenge ahead.
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"It is also particularly pleasing to see a female NHS chief executive appointed for the first time in the service's 73-year history."
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, added: "She will hit the ground running when Lord Stevens leaves.
"This role is arguably the most significant across the entire public sector and with a new Secretary of State getting up to speed, this continuity at the top of the NHS will be vital."
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