Commenting on the announcement by NHS boss Sir David Nicholson that he will retire next year, Chief executive of the NHS Confederation Mike Farrar said:
"Despite the difficulties of recent months, today's announcement provides an opportunity to focus on Sir David's contribution to the NHS over the past three decades, the significant achievements over the lifetime of his career and during his time as the chief executive of the NHS.
"Sir David came into office as NHS chief executive in 2006 and immediately led a major recovery from the deficit that the health service faced at that time.
"Over subsequent years he led the delivery of a remarkable reduction in waiting times for urgent and elective care, with access to treatment improving faster than almost any comparable health system.
"There have been significant improvements in patient outcomes and a huge reduction in healthcare acquired infections. In recent years, he presided over the largest structural reform in the history of the NHS."