Alex Heritage new boss of internal consulting wing of the NHS

03 October 2018 4 min. read
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An NHS-run management consultancy, has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer. Alex Heritage will lead the internal consulting wing which offers the support, expertise and leadership across a wide range of health and care areas.

With a host of new challenges presenting major hurdles to the National Health Service, the institution is continuously turning to external expertise to help navigate this difficult time. The consulting industry is being tapped by the NHS to face stagnant government funding, staff shortages, cybersecurity issues, and pressures resulting from a rapidly ageing population, among other obstacles to the maintenance of the keystone public service.

In order to facilitate change programmes led by consultants, while ensuring value for money is delivered by consulting with the private sector, the NHS Shared Business Services – an entity which provides business support services to the NHS – has put in place framework agreements to maintain quality control and cap prices. Among the group of 107 management consulting firms was the NHS’ own internal consulting wing, the NHS Transformation Unit; an organisation founded in 2016 to assist with change from within the health service.

Alex Heritage new boss of internal consulting wing of the NHS

The group has grown to around 40 consultants now, and specialises in creating large scale transformation in health and care, designing innovative solutions to bring about lasting positive change. Services they offer are programme and project management, organisational strategy and engagement, strategic transformation and planning, and finance and analytics. In 2017/18, the group worked with over 150 organisations, and as it prepares for heightened demand in the coming period, the NHS Transformation Unit has appointed a new CEO.

Having co-founded the Transformation Unit with Leila Williams, Alex Heritage has been formally appointed by the Board to take on the role, while Williams continues in the role of Chief Transformation Officer.

A former consultant for the Stockport Council, Alex Heritage has worked in the public sector for over 15 years across a range of services and roles. This includes the leadership of the ‘Healthier Together’ programme which achieved one of the largest public consultations responses in the NHS, resulting in 12 clinical commissioning groups’ unanimous decision to change health services in Greater Manchester. As one of the NHS’s youngest CEOs in post, he is seen as one of the next generation of leaders to take forward the long-term sustainability of the NHS, but Heritage will also have the benefit of being able to rely on an experienced Board and his mentor, cross-bench peer and social entrepreneur Lord Andrew Mawson, for support.

Chair of NHS Transformation Unit Phil Huggon commented on the appointment, “We’ve achieved an incredible amount over the last three years, stemming from strong leadership delivered by both Leila and Alex, alongside a growing team which demonstrates its passion and commitment with each step we take in our growth… I am very confident that under his stewardship, the TU will continue to flourish and support our country’s most valued asset: the NHS.”

Alex Heritage himself added, “Our first three years as an internal NHS consultancy have been highly successful. We are now well-placed to take forward our ambitions and embark on the next phase of our development, with our longer-term vision for our future. The UK’s health and care sector has to plan strategically for the long-term and - so we can continue to provide a high-quality service to our clients - so must we. But in doing so, we will not lose sight of what makes us different and sets us apart from our competitors, we are run for the NHS, by the NHS.”

Related: Public prescribe more artificial intelligence to NHS.