Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam has announced that he will step down as deputy chief medical officer (DCMO) for England at the end of March to take up a new role at the University of Nottingham.
He joined Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on secondment from the university in 2017, and will soon return to be the pro-vice-chancellor for Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Professor Van-Tam said: “My time as DCMO have been the most challenging of my professional career, especially the Covid response. We all wish Covid had never happened. Notwithstanding, it has been the greatest privilege of my professional career to have served the people of the UK during this time.
“I want to pay tribute to Professor Chris Whitty, the CMO team, my fellow scientists, public health professionals and clinicians whose support, wisdom and energy has been inspiring.
“I will continue to work until the end of March and look forward to the next challenge.”
As the DCMO for Health Protection, he has played key roles in various incidents, including domestic outbreaks of MERS and monkeypox, 2017 to 2018 influenza season and during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He worked on the Vaccine Taskforce and supported the development of treatments for Covid-19.
Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said: “I am hugely grateful for his advice and guidance since I became health and social care secretary.
“JVT’s one-of-a-kind approach to communicating science over the past 2 years has no doubt played a vital role in protecting and reassuring the nation, and made him a national treasure.
“ I pay tribute to his relentless work ethic, sense of public duty and leading role in our incredible vaccination programme – on behalf of DHSC I wish him the best of luck on his return to the University of Nottingham.