It’s believed that Easton will quit the public sector and take over as the managing director at Care UK, an independent private provider of health and social care.
The NHS CB confirmed that Mr Easton has “been approached” about a new role but could not comment further until the move has been approved in line with DH business rules.
Easton currently serves as the Director of Transition at the NHS Commissioning Board and as the DH’s National Director for Improvement and Efficiency.
In recent years Easton has played a pivotal role within the NHS. He has led the Quality, Improvement, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) agenda since 2009. QIPP aims to help the NHS makes huge efficiency savings as part of the Nicholson Challenge. However, he recently criticised certain NHS organisations for using the QIPP agenda as a means of cutting costs without incorporating service redesign.
Before the move can be completed there is expected to be a series of negotiations and discussions around the timing of Easton’s departure. The switch also has to be formally agreed in line with rules governing the transfer of public sector staff to private companies.
“Because this would be an outside appointment, it is subject to approval in line with the business appointment rules for senior Department of Health staff moving to new roles in the independent sector,” said a Commissioning Board spokesperson.
“In Jim’s role at the Department of Health, as National Director for Improvement and Efficiency, the rules apply for a two year period after leaving. Therefore, we cannot say any more before an application to take up an outside appointment has been considered under those rules.”
Care UK were in negotiations earlier this year about a potential takeover at George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton.