New deputy chief medical officer appointed

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A new deputy chief medical officer for England has been appointed, the Government has confirmed.

Dr Thomas Waite will cover emergency response and preparedness, infectious diseases and vaccines – including Covid-19 related issues.

He replaces Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, who gained public affection for his use of analogies to explain coronavirus, after he stepped down in March.

Dr Waite said: “I’m delighted to be appointed as the deputy chief medical officer for health protection.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity of working with teams throughout the country to develop our preparedness for health hazards and emergencies and to protect the health of the public.”

He later added on Twitter: “I’m delighted to be appointed deputy chief medical officer for England, taking over from my friend and colleague Prof Van-Tam. It has been a privilege to work with him.

“I look forward to working with colleagues in public health, the NHS and many others.”

During his career, Dr Waite helped create and lead the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which provided analysis to inform local and national decision-making in response to Covid, and has been interim deputy chief medical officer since May 2021.

New Year honours list 2022
Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam was deputy chief medical officer for England (Yui Mok/PA)

“His wealth of experience in epidemiology and emergency preparedness will benefit the Government’s ongoing public health responses as well as help us to prepare for future events.”

A medical graduate of Cardiff University with postgraduate qualifications in public health, medical toxicology and medical education, Dr Waite  has previously held posts in global health, infectious disease and environmental health protection.

More recently he was director of the UK Field Epidemiology Training Programme and helped establish the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team, leading their first overseas deployment to Ethiopia.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Congratulations Thomas Waite on being appointed deputy chief medical officer for England. I look forward to working closely with you to ensure we continue to learn to live with Covid.”

Sir Jonathan was deputy while on secondment to the Department of Health from the University of Nottingham since 2017.

He resigned to take up the role of pro-vice chancellor for the faculty of medicine and health sciences at the university.

Sir Jonathan’s contribution to the fight against Covid was recognised in the New Year’s Honours list with a knighthood.

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