The Government appointed a new chief executive for the NHS yesterday at a time of huge change in the service.
David Nicholson, current chief executive of NHS London, will take up the post in September, following the surprise resignation earlier this year of Sir Nigel Crisp.
Mr Nicholson, former chief executive of Birmingham and the Black Country Strategic Health Authority, has worked in the NHS for 25 years.
His salary will be within the pay scale for permanent secretaries of between £145,000 and £241,000.
Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said: "David is passionately committed to NHS values and has a proven track record of leading improvement and reforms that benefit patients."
Ms Hewitt said Mr Nicholson was taking up the post at an "exciting time" for the NHS and faced the challenge of ensuring the service continued to achieve better results for patients while restoring financial balance.
"We have made huge strides in recent years, with waiting times at record lows and impressive progress in the drive to save more lives for patients with cancer, heart diseases and stroke.
"The next stage in our reform programme will see even better results, even shorter waiting times and a healthcare service which truly puts patients at the heart of all the decisions the NHS makes."
Elisabeth Buggins, chairman of NHS West Midlands - the new strategic health authority which merged the three Midlands SHAs, said she was delighted that David Nicholson had been appointed.
"Working with David at the SHA for three years, I know that he is the best person for the job, and has the skills to understand and tackle the key challenges that are currently facing the NHS, so that it continues to drive forward real improvements to patients.
"During his time in Birmingham and the Black Country, and later across the West Midlands, he proved that he was able to deliver on improvements for patients, overseeing local health services to offer some of the lowest waiting times in the country and achieve financial balance.
"It is a fantastic opportunity."