Don’t let Dido Harding run the NHS

Victory! Dido Harding was not appointed as NHS chief executive – instead the position went to Amanda Pritchard, an NHS veteran.

To: NHS England Board

Dido Harding has a dismal track record of failure, yet has applied to become the chief executive of NHS England – and seems to be the frontrunner to get the job.

Until recently, Harding was in charge of the heavily-criticised Coronavirus Test and Trace service, which handed over millions of pounds to private companies.

recent official Sage report said that Test and Trace had failed to make “a measurable difference to the progress of the pandemic” – despite costing the public an eye-watering £37 billion.

But perhaps that’s no surprise, given how Dido Harding got that job to begin with. There are claims that Dido was given her position without proper recruitment processes – the government handed her the top job.

She had no track record in healthcare and as as chief executive of TalkTalk, she lost the details of four million customers in a cyber attack.

Her main qualification seemed to be that she was in House of Lords as a Conservative peer. Even though she claims she would leave the Conservative party if she gets the job at NHS England, it is clear that it would be another political appointment.

In any sensibly run country, her application would be laughed at and put promptly in the bin.

The NHS is too important to be left in the hands of someone who has no competence to run it. Don’t hire Dido – give the job to someone who knows and cares about the NHS.

Highlighted comments

I read that Dido Harding said that she wants to end the NHS ‘reliance on foreigners’ if she is appointed. That is the last thing we need – a xenophobic Brexit NHS! The NHS is great because of the nurses and doctors from all nationalities who work in it.

Robert, Poole

I’m sick to the back teeth of this blatant misuse of public money to provide for mates of mates who are blatantly unqualified for the roles given.

Charlie, Middlesbrough

Cronyism has no place in a modern democracy. No matter how competent or, in this case, incompetent the employee is.

Monique, London

The corruption within the current government has to be brought to the public’s attention and seen to be dealt with. The case of Dido is just the tip of the iceberg but is a start. Please support this petition to help bring back transparency and honesty in government.

David, Middlesbrough

It stinks that this woman has been sacked from more jobs than a football manager yet gets premiership promotions every time.

Philip, Nottingham

I was a victim at TalkTalk and that’s enough for me. There has to be someone more suitable, this woman caused me a lot of grief.

Jeannette, South London

As well as her many other failures, Dido Harding was one of the Jockey Club board that decided to let the Cheltenham meeting go ahead and spread the virus far and wide. Appoint someone with sense about health to run the NHS.

Lynne, Sussex

I am appalled that someone with such a long history of failure at whichever job she has done should even be considered for this post. It’s the most blatant form of cronyism which shows the government now believes it can get away with corruption.

Ellen, Somerset

This appears to be part of an unspoken policy to privatise the NHS. In addition the very disturbing amount spent on track and trace is indicative of ineffective leadership and poor management. The NHS should be run by a clinician with impeccable management and leadership experience.

Tom, York

She has no track record, other than failure with Test and Trace and wasting £37B of public money. It would be a political appointment and needs to be stopped.

Wendy, Chichester

It seems if you know the right people you only fail upwards.

William, Nottinghamshire


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