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Chief medical officer announces retirement

England's chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, has announced his decision to step down in May 2010

England's chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, has announced his decision to step down in May 2010.

The announcement comes after 12 years in the role as the government's most senior adviser on health matters.

During his time in the position, Sir Liam has been at the forefront of many reforms in the NHS and the country's public health, including the introduction of the smoking ban and the creation of the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

He also oversaw the National Flu Pandemic Framework in 2007, as implemented in the recent swine flu pandemic.

In his resignation letter to the cabinet secretary and head of the civil service, Sir Gus O'Donnell, Sir Liam said: "I have been immensely privileged to serve in this post over the past nearly 12 years. I have been pleased to see many of my policy recommendations - stem cell research, smoke-free public places, reforms to the General Medical Council, changes to consent for organ and tissue retention and the creation of the Health Protection Agency - carried forward into legislation.

"I have been pleased too, that reforms I proposed to improve quality and safety of NHS care - clinical governance, a patient safety programme, procedures to identify, and prevent harm from, poor clinical practice - are fully embedded in the service and have been also adopted in many other parts of the world."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in response to Sir Liam's resignation: "He has made an extraordinary contribution to the nation's health, from championing the ban on smoking in public places, to tackling the shortage of donated organs and most recently leading our response to the swine flu pandemic.

"His leadership and action in these areas and others will have saved many, many lives. I and the whole country are extremely grateful for all he has done and wish him all the best for the future."

Regarding Sir Liam's successor in the role, the Department of Health have said details "will be announced in due course."

16th December 2009

From: Healthcare

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