Dame Sally Davies to step down as Chief Medical Officer

Professor Dame Sally Davies will leave her post as Chief Medical Officer for England and Chief Medical Advisor to the UK government at the end of September. She has been appointed by the Queen as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge and is the first woman to hold this role.

Dame Sally, who created the National Institute for Health Research, is also the first woman to have been appointed Chief Medical Officer, a post she has held for nine years.

Before joining the Civil Service in 2004, she worked in the NHS as a consultant haematologist for 30 years and was the first UK medical practitioner to specialise in sickle cell disease.

She became Director General of Research and Development for the NHS and later played a central role in the establishment of Genomics England. A key achievement was establishing and running the NIHR, successfully putting in place programs to effectively spend over £1 billion annually and restore the UK’s reputation as a world leader in clinical research.

Dame Sally is known for successfully paving the way for international and domestic efforts in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, and leading the UK government’s response to health emergencies including Ebola, pandemic flu, and the Novichok attacks. She will step down as Chief Medical Officer at the end of September and will move into her new position in October 2019.

Professor Chris Whitty, NIHR lead and Department of Health and Social Care Chief Scientific Adviser, said: “Dame Sally’s impact on the health of the nation has been massive, and continues to be so. To the public she is best known for her campaign on antimicrobial resistance and her spearheading the work of women in science and the civil service. She was the principle architect of the National Institute for Health Research and much of what we do now would not be happening without her drive and vision. She has led and continues to lead on public health and work on genomics. Very few of us are working in areas she has not influenced.”  

Professor Graham Lord, Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, and a former NIHR Biomedical Research Centre director, said: “Sally has transformed the way the world views translational research. A major part of her legacy whilst in public office was the creation of NIHR in 2006, which is now the largest funder of patient focused research in the country. She has created world-leading infrastructure within the NHS and collaborating universities that really is the envy of the world.”