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Editorial Friday 26 March 2021: From The Sun King to a mere Prince of Wales - NHS 'England' comms boss Simon Enright is off

Simon's off.

No, not that Simon: the other Simon.

The demotion from being director of communications for The Sun King Of Skipton House Sir Simon Stevens to working for a mere Prince of Wales is a tough fall from grace in the royal pecking order.

However, if anyone can manage it, then it's the affable and cheery Simon Enright, literally and metaphorically the outgoing director of communication for the NHS Commissioning Board.

He announced his exit to his fellow NHSCB staff in the letter below.

A journalist would obviously say that communications is a core function. Whoever is appointed next (whether it's Matt Tee or Matt Tee), Simon Enright has pulled some clever scores (the one involving a poster site outside former Chancellor George Osborne's constituency office was a nice one).

The NHS Commissioning Board's comms control-freakery is an outrageously open secret, and is often counter-productive. Enright knows how many people think this. He has donned the mantle of centralising comms control-freakery with all the grace anyone could muster.

I suspect the service will broadly wish him well with his next endeavour.

Letter from Simon Enright to NHS Commissioning Board staff
Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to let you know that I’ve accepted the post of Communications Secretary to The Household of HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and will be leaving my current role in May.

Being Director of Communications at NHS England and NHS Improvement is an honour. It is great to work with such an amazing team that has done an incredible job over the last 7 years.

But in particular during the last year, under intense pressure, you have risen to the challenge of piloting NHS communications through its biggest challenge.

As I prepare to leave polling suggests more than 3 quarters believe the NHS is well managed. And yesterday the UK topped in Yougov’s latest international polling with Britons the most confident in the vaccine. Both are critical  metrics in which communications play an important role.

Over the next few weeks I hope to find time to thank you all. The process to find a replacement is underway. Deputy Director of Communications James Lyons will lead any interim period.

Thank you for all you do for the NHS.

All the best

Simon Enright
Director of Communications
NHS England and NHS Improvement