The chief executive of Brighton’s biggest hospital is leaving to head a new national health organisation.
Duncan Selbie, who runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital, has been appointed chief executive of Public Health England.
Mr Selbie wrote to staff today to tell them that he would be leaving at the end of May to take up his new post.
The 49-year-old father of three has been chief executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex, for the past five years.
He is expecting to hear next month that the Department of Health has approved the £420 million modernisation of the Royal Sussex. It would be a fitting point at which to move on.
He is due to take up his new £180,000-a-year post by the end of June.
Public Health England is one of the new organisations being created by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s NHS reforms.
It is expected to be the official expert voice for public health when it assumes its role in April next year.
According to the Department of Health: “It will support local health services, protect the nation’s health through better-integrated working and help the public make healthier choices.”
Mr Selbie told staff: “The past five years have been the best of my career.”
He added: “Please be assured that the greatest care will be taken in finding my successor.”
He also said: “I am delighted at the opportunity I am being given. I do not in any way underestimate the challenge this presents.
“By getting this right, I believe Public Health England will make a unique and extremely positive contribution to the public’s health alongside local government and the NHS.”
Mr Lansley said: “I am delighted to confirm Duncan Selbie as the chief executive designate of Public Health England.
“Mr Selbie’s role will be to take forward the plans to establish Public Health England and its structure and provide strategic leadership and vision for the protection and improvement of the nation’s health.
“This is an incredibly crucial position which carries significant responsibilities and I look forward to him bringing his characteristics of leadership, independence and strategic direction to the role.”
The Department of Health said that Mr Selbie would be supported in his role by an independent chairman and a board with a non-executive majority.
As a quango, or executive agency, Public Health England would have the operational independence that was necessary to build and maintain its own identity, the department said.
Mr Selbie’s job will be to support the development of the public health workforce, jointly appointing local authority directors of public health, supporting excellence in public health practice and providing a national voice for the profession.
Mr Selbie joined the NHS in 1980. His previous posts include chief executive of the South East London Strategic Health Authority and the South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.
From 2003 to 2007 he worked at the Department of Health as director general of programmes and performance for the NHS and subsequently commissioning.
He recently served on the NHS Future Forum, contributing to the Education and Training Working Group.
He lives with his wife and three sons in south London.