Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations BMJ Confidential

Helen Bevan: Embracing new horizons

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 04 July 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k2467
Duncan Smith


If Helen Bevan were a character in the BBC comedy W1A she would be “Director of Better.” In the real world she is chief transformation officer of NHS England’s Horizons team. Her job is largescale change, and her NHS career, which began at Leicester Royal Infirmary in the 1990s, is studded with initiatives including the launch in 2012 of the national NHS Change Day—a day of voluntary collective action that has won a global award from the Harvard Business Review and the management consultancy McKinsey. Her philosophy is to rock the boat without falling out, and she has so far succeeded. “Way cool,” as W1A’s Siobhan would say.

What was your earliest ambition?

To be a sewing teacher. My father was a sailmaker, and he taught me to use a sewing machine when I was 5. At age 7, I made my own purple hot pants from a pre-cut kit, and I was making clothes from complex paper patterns by age 9.

What was your best career move?

Joining the NHS in 1991 on a fast track scheme for leaders from other sectors, having previously worked in education. I was recruited to the NHS on the …

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