Simon Stevens starts his new job in charge of NHS England and will use his first speech to warn that pressure on the health service is “intensifying”.
The way that care is delivered outside hospitals must be “radically” transformed to cope with the country’s growing elderly population, he will say.
Mr Stevens, a former adviser to Tony Blair, will say: “I know that for the NHS the stakes have never been higher.
“Service pressures are intensifying, and long-standing problems are not going to disappear overnight.”
The fact that Mr Stevens is using his first speech to highlight the strain placed on the NHS by the elderly population will be seen as a clear statement of intent and a sign of how serious the problem will be in the coming years.
The number of people aged over 80 in Britain is forecast to more than double to 6.2 million within the next 25 years.