Ex-head of Amazon UK applies to head up NHS as service face patient backlog

THE former head of Amazon UK, Douglas Gurr, has applied to head up the NHS, according to reports.

The British businessman, who has net worth of more than £1million, would replace Lord Stevens of Birmingham who leaves the role next month.

According to the The Times, Gurr was interviewed by Treasury officials last week, which involved a number of evaluations and ten rounds of interviews.

The 57-year-old, who divides his time between London and Yorkshire, served as global vice-president of the online shopping giant between 2016 and 2020.  

Since leaving Amazon, he has been the director of the Natural History Museum and chairman of the British Heart Foundation.

He is also believed to have close ties with the UK government – something he utilised when he was allegedly given free access to NHS data as Amazon boss in 2019.

The Times sources listed him as one of many applicants vying to become the head of Europe’s largest employer which oversees a huge £150 billion budget.

Burr would take on the service at a time when the NHS is facing a post Covid-backlog of five million patients – which experts previously estimated would take five years to clear.

Only today a top doctor cited his concern of the pressure the service would face upon ‘freedom day’ on July 19.  

All Covid restrictions, including mask-wearing, isolation, and social distancing, are set to come to an end in just over a week's time.

Currently, cases rising cases are rising with hospital admissions surging by more than half in a week with 565 patients in 24 hours.

And Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said deaths were beginning to rise again too.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I have been profoundly concerned for a week or two since talk of July 19 is ramping up. 

"There seems to be a misapprehension that life will return to normal from then (July 19), and that we can throw away all the precautions, and frankly, that would be dangerous.

"The rising number of cases, the rising number of people requiring hospital treatment and intensive care, and sadly the number of deaths are beginning to rise again too.

"We all want to make sure that the public is aware that this pandemic is far from over. And that when the 19th comes we need a responsible approach and a very cautious approach to relaxing restrictions. 

"We've heard some pretty alarming reports of companies saying 'all restrictions are removed, everyone back in the office, sitting close to each other, no masks indoors. 

And I do feel that is going to add fuel to the fire of this current quite dangerous wave that we're in."

She added: "The previous waves were high pressured in a different way.

"What we've got at the moment is we're dealing with the backlog that's built up over the last 15 months. We all know the record number of people waiting for operations and for investigations. 

"And also we're seeing a sudden spike in the number of young children requiring hospital attention and people having infections that they didn't have before."

Coronavirus cases have risen by 32,367 in the last day, bringing the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 5,089,893.

And 34 more fatalities were reported today, making the grim total 128,339.


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