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Editor's blog Thursday 20 January 2011: Nigel Edwards off to pastures varied

Amid all this fuss, it's easy to overlook HSJ's reporting that Nigel Edwards will step down as acting chief executive of the NHS Confederation later this year.

Nigel has been with the Confed for a dozen years, and stepped up to become acting chief executive in trying circumstances following the well-publicised problems with NHS Employers that led to the exit of former Confed CE Steve Barnett.

Doing so would have been a thankless-ish task anyway, but subsequent internal conflict with the Confed's Foundation Trust Network turned the role into what we can only call a hospital pass.

That situation appears to be calmer, for the time being. Which reflects credit on Nigel's pragmatic, undramatic approach. His sense of duty to the Confed as an organisation, and to the wider NHS management community, is evident from his agreeing to step into the role in such interesting times.

His agreeing to stay in place until later this year is further low-key heroism.

There are few better analysts or interpreters of health policy; fewer still who can influence things in more sensible directions unobtrusively. He is one of those key policyland people, which makes his ability to get by without an ego the size of Brighton more remarkable.

This is probably an au revoir rather than adieu - Nigel may apparently do more with the Confed in future, as well as the mentioned work with the Kings Fund and Nuffield Trust.

He may not miss some of the behaviours and battles, but the Confed may well miss his subtly steadying hand.