Steve Field and Keith Willett have been appointed to senior positions on the NHS Commissioning Board, HSJ has been told.

Professor Field, a GP, has been appointed as the deputy national medical director, with responsibililty for inequalities. He has been prominent as chair of the government’s NHS Future Forum review and a supporter of greater involvement of GPs in commissioning. He is immediate past chair of the Royal College of GPs, and much of his career has focused on health inequalities.

He is chair for the DH’s National Inclusion Health Board, which aims to “improve the health of the most vulnerable”, and he practices in Birmingham. Professor Field was also postgraduate dean for NHS West Midlands.

The board will have a duty to reduce health inequalities.

Meanwhile, Professor Willett has been appointed as the board’s director responsible for acute and emergency care, covering domain three of the NHS Outcomes Framework - “helping people to recover from episodes of ill health or following injury”.

He has been the national clinical director for trauma care since 2009 and led work which has developed trauma networks and led to redesign of services.

Professor Willett is professor of orthopaedic trauma surgery at Oxford University and an honorary consultant orthopaedic trauma surgeon at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

The appointments are expected to be announced imminently.

The board has not yet appointed to the post of its second deputy medical director, who will also be a GP. The postholder will be responsible for tasks including specialised commissioning and medical revalidation and probably the most visible national GP official.

HSJ understands the post will imminently be re-advertised, inviting applications from inside and outside the current commissioning system.