POLITICS
07/06/2021 11:20 BST

Dido Harding Confirms She Is 'Thinking' About Applying To Be NHS Chief

Former test and trace boss considering bid to replace Simon Stevens.

Dominic Lipinski - PA Images via Getty Images
Baroness Dido Harding, the former head of of NHS Test and Trace, in Westminster, London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)

Dido Harding, the former head of test and trace, has confirmed she is considering a bid to become the next chief executive of NHS England.

The Conservative peer, said on Monday she was “thinking about” applying to take over the health service from Simon Stevens, who will step down in July.

Harding was asked by BBC Radio 4′s Woman’s Hour whether she wanted the job, after her interest was first reported by the Sunday Times.

“I haven’t applied fo the NHS job yet. I am thinking about what I want to do with my life,” she said. Pressed on if she wanted the job, Harding added: “It means I am thinking about it.”

The test and trace service tasked with helping the UK get the Covid pandemic under control, which Harding ran, has been repeatedly criticised. 

MPs on the Commons public accounts committee sharply attacked its £37bn budget as “unimaginable”.

Meg Hillier, the Labour chair of the committee, said it was hard to find a “measurable difference” test and trace had made.

“The promise on which this huge expense was justified - avoiding another lockdown - has been broken, twice,” she said.

Senior Labour MPs have already spoken out against Harding becoming the new NHS England chief.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said: “Tories are so good at failing upwards.”

David Lammy, the shadow justice secretary said, given the performance of test and trace, “the idea that she should now be rewarded by being made head of the NHS is a dangerous joke”.