LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 09: Dr Nikki Kanani, a GP in south-east London and Medical Director of Primary Care for NHS England and NHS Improvement, speaks in south London as the government continues to ramp up the vaccination programme against Covid-19, on January 9, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Davy – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
PROMINENT British Asian GP, Dr Nikki Kanani, has announced that she will step down from her current role at NHS England next month after serving six years.
She worked as the medical director for primary care overseeing the establishment of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and the formulation of a fresh five-year contract for primary care.
She played a pivotal role in managing the response to the Covid-19 pandemic in her capacity as the deputy Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for vaccination and screening.
Next month, she will step down as the director of clinical integration.
“After an unbelievable 6 years, I will be leaving @NHSEngland in December. It’s been a privilege working with so many dedicated colleagues – our work is hugely important, putting patients at the heart of everything we do,” she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“I’ll miss colleagues dearly! #nextsteps.”
In 2018, she made history when she was appointed as the director of primary care in the NHS, the first female in the role.
The London-based GP has been praised for her leadership qualities throughout the pandemic, occasionally accompanying then prime minister Boris Johnson during his live coronavirus briefings from Downing Street.
In July 2022, Dr Kanani departed from her position as the medical director of primary care to assume the role of director for clinical integration within the Chief Delivery Office team at NHS England.
“Working with so many dedicated colleagues over the last six years has been a massive privilege and I will really miss working at NHS England. The work we do is hugely important for frontline services with patients at the heart of everything we do,” she was quoted as saying.
“From improving improve access for patients to saving thousands of lives through vaccination, I am incredibly proud of everything we have achieved together.”
She was instrumental in securing £4.5 billion of funding for primary and community care in 2019, as part of the NHS’s long-term plan for 2023-2024. She also negotiated the most substantial changes to the GP contract since 2004, producing a deal to incentivise practices to join networks of 30,000 to 50,000 patients in exchange for various new pots of funding.
Prior to joining NHS England, she was chief clinical officer of NHS Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Kanani was born in London, the daughter of community pharmacists Jagdish Kanani and Keerti Kanani. Her father came to the UK as a refugee from Uganda in 1972.
She went to Sutton High School and attended Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ Medical School, earning a BSc in neuroscience in 2001 and an MBBS in 2004. She obtained a postgraduate certificate in managing health and social care from King’s College London in 2008 and an MSc in healthcare commissioning from the University of Birmingham.
She was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2017. Kanani was ranked 15 in this year’s GG2 Power List published by Asian Media Group.