Ruth Carnall has been appointed interim chief executive of London strategic health authority, pending a permanent appointment.

Ruth Carnall has been appointed interim chief executive of London strategic health authority, pending a permanent appointment. She will replace David Nicholson, who is to become chief executive of the NHS in September after just two months in post.

The SHA said it would announce the timetable for recruiting a permanent chief executive shortly; the post seems likely to go to national advertisement.

Mrs Carnall was NHS regional director for the South East, then South, from 2001-03. Before that she spent seven years as chief executive of West Kent health authority. For the last two years she has worked as a freelance consultant and had already been appointed to give advice to support NHS London?s transition.

Mrs Carnall said she was looking forward 'to returning to the NHS to take on such a demanding role'. The appointment came shortly after Mr Nicholson announced£70m of further cuts on top of a 3 per cent top-slice of primary care trusts and 1 per cent share from acute and mental health trusts.

Mrs Carnall said her priorities included making London's NHS 'more responsive and patient focused, continuing reform and improvement to the capital's NHS, and ensuring that it is on a sound financial footing'.

She left the NHS in 2004 after over 25 years, ending with a temporary role heading the transition team overseeing the slimming down of the Department of Health. Her work as a freelance consultant has included stints with the prime minister?s delivery unit and the Home Office, as well as for the NHS. She is a non-executive director of development organisation Care UK and chair of management consultancy Verita, but will be standing down from both.

This week HSJlearned that the first nine PCTs in London to be subject to fitness for purpose reviews have received their results, with four traffic-lit red, and five green. HSJdoes not have further details.

London SHA has also appointed some interim directors. Dr Sheila Adam, deputy chief medical officer for England from 1999-2002 and later director of public health for North East London, becomes interim director of public health. Jonathan Wise, director of finance and investment of the former North Central London SHA, steps in as interim finance director; former head of DoH corporate human resources Anne Rainsberry is to be interim director of people and organisational development. Tim Jones, director of communications at St George?s Healthcare trust, becomes interim director of communications and public affairs.