Matt Hancock to publish plans to give ministers more power over NHS

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Ministers are to press ahead with plans to assume more power over the NHS in England, amid growing speculation that the head of the health service will quit this year.

The planned shake-up immediately prompted questions about why Boris Johnson has decided to trigger a potentially destabilising reorganisation of the NHS in the middle of the Covid pandemic.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, will on Thursday publish the first white paper on NHS reform since the coalition government’s hugely controversial health and social care bill in 2010.

The proposals would hand the health secretary a sweeping new “general power to direct NHS England on its functions”, which would reduce the independence its powerful chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, has built up and displayed during his seven…

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