Amanda Pritchard is currently negotiating with ministers over the future budget of the health service after Covid-19
NHS England’s chief executive Amanda Pritchard has ‘liked’ an anti-government tweet on social media which described ministers as “slippery, cheating and law breaking”.
The tweet by lawyer Peter Stefanovic linked to a story by The Independent reporting on a government ‘playbook’ for media communications which instructed NHS hospitals to refer to new wings or refurbishments on existing hospital sites as “new hospitals.”
The Department of Health and Social Care has faced heavy critcism over the revelation and has been accused of misleading the public over its 48 new hospital programme.
Mr Stefanovic said on twitter: “Lie after lie after lie. Just how the hell is Johnson’s slippery, cheating, law breaking Government getting away with it?”
Ms Pritchard received praise on Twitter for her “authentic leadership” before the ‘like’ was swiftly reversed after being pointed out by a number of Twitter users.
Despite this, screenshots were shared widely by users of the social media site.
It is not known whether Ms Pritchard herself liked the tweet or whether she has staff from NHS England who also use the account on her behalf.
NHS England told The Independent: “This error has been corrected.”
It comes at a tense time for the health service, amid negotiations over the NHS budget for the second half of this financial year and as the Chancellor Rishi Sunak prepares to unveil details of the spending review this autumn.
It is widely acknowledged that without substantial new investment the health service will struggle to cope with ongoing pressures from Covid-19 and recover performance levels and waiting times which has seen the overall list of waiting patients balloon to 5.5 million.
Ms Pritchard took over as chief executive of NHS England last month, following the departure of Sir Simon Stevens who has taken a cross-bench seat in the House of Lords.
In one of his final words of advice to his successor, Sir Simon had said it was important the new head of the NHS was able to “make the weather” in terms of the debates and politics around the NHS.
Sir Simon was renowned for securing substantial investment from the government, albeit with deals that still required substantial efficiency savings being made by the NHS. Under his tenure, NHS performance on a range of metrics deteriorated substantially since he joined as chief executive in 2014.