The NHS in England has today confirmed the appointment of the next Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England.
Following an open recruitment process, David Webb, currently Chief Pharmacist and Clinical Director for Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London, will join the Medical Directorate and lead the national pharmacy team from February.
In his new role, David will be a member of NHS England and NHS Improvement Medical Directorate’s senior management team, the UK Government Chief Medical Officer’s senior clinical group, Head of the Pharmacy Professions in England and the principal advisor on pharmacy and medicines use in the NHS, which includes supporting the Department of Health and Social Care.
David will be the Senior Responsible Officer for reducing inappropriate prescribing of antibiotic medicines as part of efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance and the programme to address overprescribing in the NHS.
He will lead the NHS’s medicines optimisation strategy which aims to enable patients and clinicians to make the best use of medicines in English healthcare, as well as ongoing pharmacy educational reform, the promotion of inclusive pharmacy practice and transforming the practice of hospital, primary care network and community pharmacy in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.
David will also lead a team of pharmacy professionals, working at both national and regional level, to ensure pharmacy professional advice is deployed effectively to improve patient care as well as being the professional leader to over 70,000 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians registered in England.
Pharmacy professionals have played an invaluable role in the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme with more than 21 million jabs delivered through community pharmacies alone.
The new appointment follows Dr Keith Ridge CBE retiring from the role, after 16 years in post.
David said: “The last two years has been an extremely challenging time for all NHS colleagues, but it has also highlighted the absolutely vital and positive role that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians play as clinical professionals in the NHS team.
“Whether it’s been hospital teams supporting the care of over half a million very ill patients, community pharmacy teams delivering over 21 million jabs across the country, or primary care teams being at the forefront of the vaccination programme in local communities, they have been central in every part of the NHS COVID-19 response – in addition to pharmacy teams everywhere continuing their usual clinical roles of supporting patients and delivering safe and effective health services.
“I’m very proud to be appointed to be Chief Pharmaceutical Officer and to lead the next stage of the transformation of pharmacy practice working with colleagues across the healthcare system to support them, listen to them and enable them to continue to deliver to the highest standards, helping the NHS recover services, improve the use of medicines for patients in the 21st century and deliver on important Long Term Plan commitments”.
Mr Webb has been at the forefront of the pharmacy response to the pandemic in South East London, been the regional chief pharmacist for London, director of regional specialist pharmacy services for London, East and South East England and led the review of specialist pharmacy services for England in 2014.
He undertook a secondment to the Department of Health where he was part of the team which developed the 2008 White Paper Pharmacy in England: Building on strengths – Delivering the future, and is a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.