Three primary care trust chief executives have left their organisations for full time roles developing the new commissioning infrastructure.

Gail Richards is leaving NHS Oldham, the PCT said in a statement, to join “the national commissioning development transition team – under national managing director of commissioning development Dame Barbara Hakin”. It said the role would also be related to NHS Interim Management and Support.

Ms Richards said in the statement:  “This appointment is a reflection of all the hard work which people here have put in and I am confident that I leave the organisation in excellent hands and with strong leadership.”

The PCT’s director of clinical leadership Shauna Dixon will become interim chief executive.

Tim Rideout, previously chief executive of NHS Leicester City, is understood to be leading development of the NHS commissioning board.

Catherine Griffiths, chief executive of NHS Leicestershire County and Rutland, is now also chief executive of a joint executive team for the two PCTs.

A Department of Health spokesman confirmed Denise McLellan, previously NHS Walsall chief executive, is also now working on commissioning development for the DH.

Separately, Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, chief executive of NHS Cambridgeshire and NHS Peterborough, is leaving “to focus on developing commissioning consortia at a regional and national level”, according to a statement from his PCT.

The statement said: “Paul… has now decided to focus his attention on developing this further across the East of England. He will also be leading nationally on a number of aspects associated with GP commissioning consortia, such as leadership and patient engagement/involvement.”

Dr Zollinger-Read, a GP, will also be medical adviser to the King’s Fund. A DH spokesman said he was helping with national development but did not have a DH role.

Sushil Jathanna, currently NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney chief executive, will replace him at both PCTs.

Meanwhile, Salisbury Foundation Trust chief executive Matthew Kershaw has been seconded to the DH as director of provider delivery where. According to a trust statement: “He will help to develop and then lead the implementation of the provider aspects of the white paper”.

The statement said: “Mr Kershaw will be working at the Department of Health for 12 months from November 8 and, during this period, will keep in touch with developments at Salisbury District Hospital.”

Director of operations Peter Hill has been named interim chief executive at Salisbury.

Explaining the appointments, a DH spokesman said: “NHS expertise and knowledge is central to the successful transition to the new health and care system, which is why a number of senior NHS staff are supporting the Department on a short to medium term basis.

“These interim assignments, arranged by NHS Interim Management and Support are enabling the department to use the professional knowledge and skills of NHS leaders who know the service inside out.”