Department of Health finance chief announces retirement

3 Mar 15
Richard Douglas, director general of finance at the Department of Health, is to retire at the end of May, he announced today.

Douglas is also head of the Government Finance Profession, a role he was appointed to in 2011.

DH permanent secretary Una O’Brien called him one of the department’s ‘brightest stars’.

‘He has worked tirelessly with extraordinary skill and good humour. As well as being a highly respected and successful finance expert, I know that we will miss Richard’s warmth and unflappable nature, and his encyclopaedic knowledge of NHS policy and finances,’ she said.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Douglas had run the biggest discretionary budget of any government department with skill, judgement and decency.

‘He is both the longest-serving director general for finance in Whitehall and the youngest person ever to hold that post, which speaks volumes.

‘I have hugely valued his advice and guidance as we seek to make the NHS more compassionate, sustainable and safer than it has ever been – Richard will be sorely missed.’

Douglas said he had hoped that he made a small, positive difference to the health service, something he believed passionately in.

‘The election marks a natural break and I plan to hang up the spreadsheets and do something completely different!’ he said.

David Williams, currently director general of finance at the Ministry of Defence, will join DH on March 16 and formally assume leadership of the two finance divisions led by Andrew Baigent and Andrew Sanderson and the commercial division, led by Pat Mills, from April 1.

O’Brien said Williams was a highly respected financial strategist with experience of Whitehall, local government and the NHS and she was delighted to have him on her executive team.

Douglas added: ‘David is an excellent choice because he has great experience and knows his way around Whitehall and the NHS. I have known David for years. I am very happy leaving, with the comforting certainty that the DH’s finances are in very safe hands.’

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