A procurement expert has crossed government departments to become the new commercial director at the Department of Health.

Melinda Johnson has been appointed to the position – ending a five year stint as commercial director for the Department of Transport.

Ms Johnson has already started working in her new role, the DH confirmed to HSJ this morning. 

She joins the department while it is in the process of implementing the new procurement Future Operating Model for the NHS, which is scheduled to be formally up and running by autumn next year.

The DH hopes the model, which replaces the NHS Supply Chain, will be the vehicle for 80 per cent of NHS procurement - ending some of the unwarranted variations highlighted in the 2016 Carter Review.

Ms Johnson replaces Pat Mills, who left the position in January after resigning.

Mr Mills, who led programmes on efficiency and procurement, had been in post since October 2014.

Prior to her time at the Department for Transport Ms Johnson worked as deputy director (commercial services) at the Department for Education.

She has also worked as a ”principal procurement consultant” in local government, and served as head of policy at the Chartered Institute for Procurement and Supply between 1999 and 2003.

Ms Johnson’s appointment was welcomed by the Health Care Supply Association, the professional body which represents NHS procurement staff.

Its chairman Alan Hoskins said: “Melinda is a distinguished procurement professional who is greatly respected. I wish her well in her role and look forward to working with her.”