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Dido Harding to step down as chair of NHS Improvement in October

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Dido Harding will leave her role as chair of NHS Improvement in October, it has been confirmed.

The Conservative peer, who also oversaw the government’s coronavirus Test and Trace programme until April this year, has been in the role since October 2017.

The £22bn Test and Trace scheme has been widely criticised during the pandemic, with a Commons committee report finding there was “no clear evidence” it helped to reduce COVID-19 infection levels.

Dido Harding
Image: Dido Harding was also executive chair of the government’s coronavirus Test and Trace programme until April 2021

Baroness Harding, the wife of Conservative MP John Penrose, had applied to become the new chief executive of NHS England following Sir Simon Stevens’ departure from the role at the end of last month.

But the position was recently awarded to Amanda Pritchard who has worked as chief operating officer of the health service for the past two years.

Before joining the NHS, Baroness Harding was chief executive of TalkTalk for seven years.

Prior to that, she worked in senior roles for both Sainsbury’s and Tesco.