Dr Felicity Harvey, director general for public and international health, has announced she will retire from the Department of Health in June.
Dr Harvey took up the public health post in 2012, returning to the health department after three years working in the Treasury and Cabinet Office on implementation and delivery.
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Her previous roles include head of quality management in NHS Executive; director of prison health at HM Prison Service; and private secretary to the Chief Medical Officer.
More recently, Dr Harvey led the department’s response to the Ebola outbreak, and has overseen legislation to standardise tobacco packaging and ban smoking in cars with children. In addition she has garnered cross-government support for prioritising work on childhood obesity.
She said: “I have been incredibly lucky to work with a talented group of colleagues at the Department of Health across local, national and international issues.
“We have worked closely to bring into being the health and care system we recognise today as well as building the strength of relationships we need to respond to and deal with domestic and global health challenges.”
Una O’Brien, DH permanent secretary, said: “I would like to share my sincere personal appreciation for all the superb work that Felicity has done on behalf of the department and wider civil service for the past 26 years. I have no doubt that her leadership style and personality will be missed right across the Department and the wider health and care system.”