Samantha Jones: Former NHS nurse asked to put No 10 in order | Policy

A former NHS nurse has been brought in to bring order and discipline to the chaos of Boris Johnson’s failing Downing Street machine.

Samantha Jones, 50, became No 10’s first chief operating officer in February as part of the Prime Minister’s overhaul of her team.

The power of his role would have appeared this week. The existing No 10 operation, alongside Cabinet Office teams backing Johnson and his high table of ministers, will be part of a group led by her.

His rank of permanent secretary is the second highest civil servant in the center of government under cabinet secretary Simon Case.

But amid rumors that Case was damaged by the Partygate revelations – many officials under him were fined and he was present at more than one of the events investigated by Scotland Yard – she appears to have received a much of the former cabinet secretary. responsibilities.

It’s a rare and steep climb in Whitehall to the top of the civil service for someone outside the usual route followed by mandarins.

Most of his colleagues of similar rank will have been fast-tracked through Oxbridge and the senior ranks of major departments.

Jones rose through the ranks of the NHS to become chief executive of two hospital trusts. She has worked in Downing Street since last April. She was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Senior Advisor on NHS Transformation and Social Care.

She started her career as a nurse at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London, but quickly moved into management, attending the NHS’s two-year Graduate Management Training Programme.

In an interview she said: “I said, ‘I don’t know why I want to be a manager but I have four brothers. I’m too loose. I have to stay by my bed while the consultant makes his rounds and I’m not allowed to speak until I’ve been spoken to – and I don’t have any of that. ”

Jones became chief executive of the Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust and later of the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, and was one of England’s youngest chief executives. She also worked as Director of Care Strategies at NHS England.

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She entered Downing Street after working in the private sector. She became UK CEO of Centene, part of a private US healthcare group, which recently became one of the largest primary care providers in England, with 58 practices and more than 500,000 patients.

Her subsequent return to the public sector led some to believe she was in the running for the vacant position of CEO of NHS England last year, but in the end the job was given to another NHS flyer, Amanda Pritchard.

Whitehall insiders hope his management skills will be useful in assessing whether Downing Street’s structure is as efficient as it should be.

A mother of twins, she once said her favorite books included Machiavelli’s The Prince, while her dream dinner guests would include Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, David Walliams and Nelson Mandela.


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Edward L. Robinett