New Year Honours 2020: NHS chief knighted

By | December 29, 2019

The head of the NHS in England, Simon Stevens, has been knighted for services to health care in the New Year Honours list.

He is one of a number of people working in health given honours along with a woman who set up a bereavement charity after losing her son and husband.

Sir Simon has been NHS England’s chief executive since 2014.

Before that he was employed by US firm United Healthcare and acted as an adviser in Tony Blair’s government.

In his early career he worked as an NHS manager.

Since taking up the NHS England post, Sir Simon has been instrumental in arguing the health service needed extra money and behind the scenes was credited with helping to convince the then prime minister Theresa May to give the NHS a five-year funding plan which was announced in the summer of 2018.

He has also championed greater integration in the NHS, which has seen hospital doctors running clinics in the community and GP practices working together to expand services locally.

Lord Darzi, a former health minister and leading surgeon, said Sir Simon was one of the country’s “greatest public servants”.

“He combines a first rate mind with tireless devotion.”

Who else has been recognised?

Prof Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, is made a dame for services to women’s healthcare.

The author of a number of books on pregnancy, Dame Lesley was the first female head of obstetrics and gynaecology at St Mary’s Hospital, in Paddington, and pioneered care for women suffering recurrent miscarriages.

Knighthoods also go to neuroscientist Professor Menelas Pangalos, executive vice president at drug firm Astra Zeneca, and Jonathan Symonds, deputy group chairman of HSBC Holdings and chairman of Genomics England.

Cally Palmer, chief executive of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, has her CBE upgraded to a damehood for services to cancer medicine.

And to mark the start of the World Health Organization’s Year of the Nurse and Midwife in 2020, 12 nurses and five midwives have been recognised.

Among them are MBEs for Nicolette Peel, a midwife from Derbyshire who has dedicated her time to supporting women affected by cancer during pregnancy and their families, and Elizabeth Evans, also from Derbyshire, who has developed stoma care services for the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.

Prof Alan Lehmann, research professor of molecular genetics at the University of Sussex, receives a CBE for services to medical science thanks to his research into two rare genetic conditions.

CBEs have also been given to Dr Paul Lelliott, former deputy chief inspector of hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, and Prof Karen Barker, clinical director for trauma and orthopaedics at Oxford University Hospitals, among others.

‘Bitter sweet’

Meanwhile, a woman who set up a charity to help bereaved families after she lost her baby son and husband within days of each other has been made an MBE.

Rhian Mannings’s one-year-old son George died in February 2012 after he suffered a seizure at home. It was later discovered he had been suffering from pneumonia and Type A influenza.

Her husband Paul Burke, 33, took his own life five days later while suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Ms Mannings, from Miskin, near Cardiff, set up charity 2 Wish Upon A Star to help other bereaved families, and said she is proud “so proud to have been given this honour”.

But she added: “Every recognition I get is bitter sweet. I would send it back in a heartbeat if I could bring back my boys and change the past,” she said.

BBC News – Health