DH appointment beset by mystery

9 May 2007
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10 May 2007 | Paul Snell

Confusion surrounds the appointment of a new commercial director at the Department of Health (DH), as it refuses to confirm whether the position has been filled.

Last week the Financial Times reported DH had offered the position to American executive R Channing Wheeler. He has held chief executive roles at US health insurer UnitedHealthcare and its subsidiary Uniprise.

Yet SM has learnt, from two independent sources, that David Joyner, an executive from US health company Blue Shield of California, has also been approached about filling the vacancy.

A DH spokesman told SM: "We haven't made an appointment to the post yet and we haven't set a date for the announcement."

Speaking about the post last week, Tony Blair said "you should appoint the best person for the job", but a Downing Street spokesman denied that this meant an appointment had been made.

There is also a lack of clarity concerning the new NHS Commercial Agency, which was meant to begin work last month. DH said that the merger between the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency and the Commercial Directorate was still "under review".


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