Whitty named next chief medical officer
Public health professor has been a chief scientific adviser to government departments for a decade
Chris Whitty, chief scientific adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care, will be England's next chief medical officer, the department has announced.
Whitty, who is also a professor of public and international health and a practising doctor, will take over from outgoing chief scientific adviser Dame Sally Davies when she steps down in October. He is an epidemiologist – a scientist who specialises in diseases within populations of people.
As “the nation’s doctor”, Whitty will provide independent and evidence-based advice to the ministers and officials on medical issues, and support the development of government policy that promotes public health and wellbeing. He will also lead national and international responses to public health emergencies.
- Health department offers £200k for next chief medical officer
- Dame Sally Davies to step down as chief medical officer
- Facts and figures: meet government's chief scientific advisers
In his role as chief scientific adviser, Whitty has acted as deputy chief medical officer as well as providing public health and clinical advice to DHSC and ministers.
He has also provided scientific advice across government in crisis situations such as the Salisbury attacks last year and oversees the department’s research and development, including the National Institute for Health Research, which facilitates NHS research and is the largest clinical research funder in Europe.
Whitty joined the civil service in 2009 as chief scientific adviser to the Department for International Development. In 2015 he moved to the health department, where he also spent stints as the government’s deputy chief scientific adviser and then interim government CSA alongside this role.
Outside government, Whitty is a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an NHS consultant physician in acute medicine and infectious diseases at University College London Hospitals.
"It is a huge honour to be given the opportunity as chief medical officer for England to be able to support colleagues in public health, the NHS and social care around the country to improve the health of the nation," Whitty said. "I look forward to working within DHSC and across Whitehall to support the government in leading the nation’s health and care."
Sir Chris Wormald, permanent secretary at DHSC, said Whitty was doing “an excellent job as chief scientific adviser and will bring to his new role a wealth of relevant experience from his previous roles in public health.”
Government chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said Whitty was "an outstanding clinician, scientist and leader, and has dedicated his life to improving outcomes for patients".
When it advertised for the £200,000-a-year job in March, DHSC said the next chief medical officer must be medically qualified, with a “considerable national profile”. Davies, who has been in the permanent secretary-level role for nine years, is a consultant haematologist.
“As ‘the nation’s doctor’, the CMO will need to be an outstanding clinical leader, who commands the confidence of ministers, the public and the medical profession,” the job advert said.
As chief medical officer, Davies has driven national and international efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance, and pushed for the government to take cross-departmental action on air pollution and to legalise cannabis products for medicinal use.
After stepping down Davies will become master of Trinity College, Cambridge University.
Department highlights training of mental health first aiders globally as part of its...
Former Cabinet Office minister flags “keep calm and carry on” spirit amid Brexit abnormality
Civil service is pushing for a “cultural change towards openness and honesty about mental health...
Rolling up their sleeves: NI health perm sec Richard Pengelly on driving reform through 'desperately uncomfortable' conversations
The absence of ministers since the collapse of Stormont’s power sharing in early 2017 hasn’t...
There is no doubt that the innovative use of technology within the UK’s public sector is fast...
BT takes a look at the shifting nature of cyber threats, and how organisations can detect and...
Microsoft shows a few of the ways that governments can turn data into insight
KPMG on food subscriptions for families receiving means-tested benefits