Health department offers £200k for next chief medical officer

The successful candidate must be medically qualified, with a “considerable national profile” DHSC insists

Dame Sally Davies Credit: Paul Heartfield/CSW

The Department of Health and Social Care has begun its search for the government’s next chief medical officer, offering up to £200,000 for the position.

DHSC is seeking a replacement for Dame Sally Davies, a consultant haematologist, who will step down in September after nine years in the role – which is a permanent-secretary-level appointment.

The chief medical officer is responsible for providing independent and evidence-based advice to the health secretary and officials on medical issues, and support the development of government policy that promotes public health and wellbeing.


They also lead national and international responses to pubic health emergencies. During her time in the role, Davies helped lead the government’s response to crises including the Ebola outbreak and Novichok attacks.

The department is seeking an “outstanding, medically qualified leader with wide professional experience and credibility”, as well as a high level of political awareness, according to the advertisement.

“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 advert says.

The successful candidate, who will represent the UK internationally, will be expected to have a “considerable national profile” and will be able to build relationships with industry, employers, civil society and other groups.

Davies – the UK’s first female chief medical officer – announced that she would step down last month. Last year she earned between £210,000 and £215,000, according to DHSC’s most recent annual report.

Over the last nine years, Davies has been a major driving force behind national and international efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance. She has also pushed for the government to take cross-departmental action on air pollution and to legalise cannabis products for medicinal use.

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