Dr Kathy McLean and Stephen Hay announce departures

Two members of our board have announced their departure from NHS Improvement.

Our Executive Director of Regulation and Deputy Chief Executive, Stephen Hay, and our Executive Medical Director and Chief Operating Officer, Dr Kathy McLean, will be stepping down from their roles and leaving the organisation at the end of April next year.

Both are senior leaders who have served the NHS and wider public sector over many decades and they have been members of our board since its establishment in April 2016. 

Stephen and Kathy joined from the predecessor bodies, Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority respectively.

The departures of Stephen and Kathy come as we continue to develop our plans with NHS England to integrate our national and regional functions and establish a single NHS Executive Group, which will be led by our Chief Executive Ian Dalton and NHS England’s Chief Executive Simon Stevens. The first appointments to this group have also been announced today.

‘Kathy and Stephen have made huge contributions to the leadership of the NHS over many years. I would like to offer my enormous thanks to both of them for their work for NHS Improvement and its predecessor organisations, Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority.

Kathy has been an outstanding medical director and has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of care received by NHS patients across the country. She has also played a major role in building stronger clinical leadership across the NHS.

Stephen has been instrumental in putting local systems on a more sustainable footing and in working with the NHS’s most challenging providers, so they can improve their senior leadership, governance and financial position for the benefit of patients and the taxpayer.

Their huge efforts on behalf of the NHS stand us in good stead as we and NHS England work together to develop the Long Term Plan and to align our functions.

Kathy and Stephen will remain in post until April. I wish them all the best with the next stage in their careers.’

Ian Dalton, Chief Executive, NHS Improvement

‘Since the creation of the independent regulation of NHS trusts 15 years ago, this crucial function could not have been in more dependable hands than Stephen's. I, and previous members of the board, first of Monitor and then of NHS Improvement, have held him in the highest esteem. The devolving of regulation to the seven regions, which is a key part of our alignment with NHS England, means change but we are building on strong foundations. 

Kathy has had a remarkable career within the NHS, both on the frontline and in her many leadership positions. I am delighted that her experience and contributions were acknowledged earlier in the year with her OBE. She has led with incredible insight, determination and compassion and she has remained focused on supporting the NHS to do what’s right by patients at all times. 

I would like to thank Stephen and Kathy for their contributions and for agreeing to continue to be part of our leadership team and board until 30 April next year. I wish them every success.’

Baroness Dido Harding, Chair, NHS Improvement

‘The NHS includes many of this country's most impressive staff and leaders. It has been a unique privilege for me to work with them to serve patients better and ensure value for money. 

Ian and Simon have laid out an exciting vision which needs a team committed over the next five years to realise its potential. I will miss being part of that, but for me it’s time to look at fresh opportunities.

Stephen Hay, Executive Director of Regulation and Deputy Chief Executive, NHS Improvement

‘I have had the privilege, over many years, to work on behalf of patients at all levels in the NHS, from the frontline as a doctor, to national bodies. I feel very proud and fortunate to have worked with so many dedicated and talented people across the NHS — including in my time at NHS Improvement and the NHS Trust Development Authority.

Making the decision to leave at this time was not easy but I feel it is the right time to go and I look forward to contributing to the NHS in a different way. 

I would like to thank everyone I have worked with and I wish my successor into the shared national medical director role and colleagues the very best.

Dr Kathy McLean OBE, Executive Medical Director and Chief Operating Officer, NHS Improvement

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