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NHS chief Sir David Nicholson to resign in March 2014

Controversial NHS England chief, Sir David Nicholson has decided to resign next year with a pension pot worth almost £1.9 million.

For months Nicholson, 56, defied demands and outcries that he resign following the Mid Staffordshire scandal where appalling levels of care many have contributed to as many as 1,200 deaths between 2005 and 2008, according to the findings published in Francis report that was released in February which stated that the system had "betrayed" the public by putting corporate self-interest ahead of patients.

Nicholson was in charge of the health authority overseeing the hospitals in Mid Staffordshire for 10 months - between 2005 and 2006 when the first issues were raised about the extraordinary high death rates, poor care, neglect and mistreatments.

The chief executive received backing from Prime Minister David Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the wake of the inquiry, with Hunt saying that under Nicholson's leadership, "NHS waiting times had fallen, infection rates reduced, and mixed sex accommodation was at an all-time low."

While Professor Malcolm Grant, chair of NHS England, said Sir David's leadership through the radical changes in the NHS of the past two years had been "absolutely fundamental to their success".

The NHS England chief executive officer, whose basic salary is £211,000, will step down from his role next March and with a pension pot of at least £1,875,000 when he retires, according to NHS figures.

In his resignation letter Nicholson wrote: "Whilst I believe we have made significant progress together under my leadership, recent events continue to show that on occasion the NHS can still sometimes fail patients, their families and carers."

"This continues to be a matter of profound regret to me but please know that on a daily basis I continue, and will always continue, to be inspired and moved by the passion that those who work in the NHS continue to show."

"I have only ever had one ambition and that is to improve the quality of care for patients. I still passionately believe in what NHS England intends to do. My hope is that by being clear about my intentions now will give the organisation the opportunity to attract candidates of the very highest calibre so they can appoint someone who will be able to see this essential work through to its completion."

When Julie Bailey, from the campaign group, Cure the NHS, whose mother died at the hospital, heard the news she said : “Disappointed he isn’t going immediately but we know the man has no shame.”

Also adding, "This is the start of the cure for the NHS. We can start to look to the future now. He was part of the problem - not part of the solution. We now need a leader who will galvanise and inspire the front line, not bully them."

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