Appointment of new Chief Dental Officer

NHS England is pleased to announce the appointment of Sara Hurley BDS(UBrist) MFGDP(UK) MSc(UCL) MA(KCL) as Chief Dental Officer. Sara will serve as principal dental adviser and the professional head of dental staff in England. As a senior member of the Medical Directorate, Sara will work in partnership with other directorates, domain leads and other clinical leaders in regional and local area teams to improve outcomes for patients, and champion the role of dentists and dentistry within the health system.

Sara Hurley qualified from the University of Bristol Dental School in 1988.  Commissioned into the Royal Army Dental Corps, she has continued to broaden her clinical dentistry portfolio gaining Membership of General Dental Practitioners (UK) in 2003, a Masters in Dental Public Health at University College London 2004, and a King’s College MA in Defence Studies 2007. Her career has flexed across the domains of dental public health, wider healthcare policy and healthcare commissioning as well as undertaking operational healthcare management and strategic leadership assignments in a range of UK and overseas locations.

Sara said: “I am delighted and honoured to be taking up this new challenge as an integral member of the Medical Directorate at NHS England. The role of Chief Dental Officer remains a crucial link between decision-makers, patients and the wide range of front line providers that enable dental health. I am determined to use this position to articulate the dental health needs of our patients and, working collaboratively across the breadth of the dental healthcare profession, present directly to Ministers and NHS leaders our fresh ideas; ideas that will contribute to achieving our shared goals of quality health outcomes and better oral health for all.”

Sara joins NHS England from the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine where she has worked hand in hand with the NHS in assuring access to and quality of healthcare for injured personnel. Concurrent with her Royal Centre for Defence Medicine responsibilities, Sara has been the Chief Dental Officer for the Army. In recognition of her commitment to and contribution to improving the oral health of the Army she was appointed as a Queen’s Honorary Dental Surgeon in September 2014.

Sara is taking over from Dr Barry Cockroft, who retired in February 2015 following a 39 year career in the NHS.