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Independents' Day

Sir Liam Donaldson resigns

By Nigel Praities

England's chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson has announced that he is to step down next May.

Sir Liam will leave the Department of Health after 12 years in the post, making him the longest serving chief medical officer of modern times.

Since 1998, Sir Liam has been at the forefront of reforms such as the smoking ban in public places and the response to the Harold Shipman inquiry. Recently, he has also been instrumental in spearheading the Government's response to the swine flu pandemic, holding weekly press conferences and presenting the latest figures on the spread of the virus.

In his resignation letter 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.'

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: ‘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.'

Sir Liam's announcement follows a number of other high profile departures in recent months, with health minister Lord Ara Darzi resigning in the summer and Baroness Barbara Young announcing two weeks ago that she is to step down as chair of the Care Quality Commission.

Department of Health

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