THE new boss of the NHS visited the hospital where he started his career on his first day in the job.
Simon Stevens, 47, spent time meeting staff and patients at Shotley Bridge Hospital in County Durham.
The former president of a US private healthcare firm began his career there as a trainee manager 25 years ago.
Rolling up his sleeves and tucking in his tie, he asked patients what their care was like and how good the food was.
He said: “I’m spending my first day back in the job meeting patients, nurses and doctors here, where I first started in the NHS.
“It’s clear from talking to patients that the quality of care is fantastic.”
He went on to visit Consett Medical Centre, where it seems the stresses of his first day had taken its toll as, after having his blood pressure taken, he was told it was slightly high.
He had been widely regarded as Prime Minister David Cameron’s preferred candidate for the job, and was previously a health adviser to Tony Blair when he was prime minister.
His final stop of the day was the International Centre for Life in Newcastle, where said the traditional way some NHS services are delivered “no longer makes much sense”.
He said pressure on the health service is “intensifying” and that the traditional “partitioning” of services is no longer fit for purpose.
Before taking on his new role, Mr Stevens was president of global health and group executive vice-president at UnitedHealth, the US private healthcare firm.
He also worked across the NHS running hospitals, health authorities and community services.
He is taking over from Sir David Nicholson, who decided to retire following the Stafford Hospital scandal.