Dr Paul Johnson, clinical chair of the NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group - Credit: NHS Devon CCG

Devon NHS leader leaving for new job in Dorset

Torbay Weekly

One of Devon’s most senior NHS leaders is leaving for a new job in Dorset.

Dr Paul Johnson, clinical chair of the NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), is becoming chief medical officer at NHS Dorset.

He has helped lead Devon’s efforts in tackling covid, including by taking part in the monthly Team Devon local outbreak meetings to update local leaders about how the NHS was coping.

His departure comes weeks before major NHS reforms in England. The role of clinical chairs will end on 30 June, when CCGs will be replaced by Integrated Care Boards.

Devon CCG was formed during a previous reorganisation in 2019.

Dr Johnson will be replaced by Dr Nigel Acheson, who has joined NHS Devon as chief medical officer. His former roles include deputy chief inspector of the Care Quality Commission and regional medical director for NHS England.

Dr Acheson said: “I’m delighted to be joining NHS Devon at a time when we have such a huge opportunity to improve the health of our local population. I am passionate about supporting people and communities to build individual resilience.

“By working together in a new integrated care system, we can provide services that really meet the needs of our patients and help them to live longer, healthier, happier lives.”

Ahead of leaving, Dr Johnson said: “I am incredibly proud of all we have achieved as a CCG and to have led the NHS in Devon through the covid-19 pandemic.

“The last couple of years have been very challenging for the NHS, but our incredible staff have tirelessly cared for people who needed them throughout and been joined by thousands of volunteers to deliver the historic and very successful covid-19 vaccination programme – thank you to you all.

“The transition from clinical commissioning groups to integrated care boards has brought a natural end to the role of clinical chair. I’m delighted to be joining NHS Dorset as chief medical officer and know I will be leaving the NHS in Devon in safe hands.”

During this week’s Team Devon meeting, deputy leader of Devon County Council James McInnes paid tribute to Dr Johnson.

“His calm, measured response through the pandemic has been absolutely brilliant and I’d just like to say thank you.”