The NHS Confederation has appointed Hugo Mascie-Taylor as its first medical director.

Professor Mascie-Taylor will start work in the policy team in the next two weeks, on secondment from Leeds Teaching Hospitals trust, where he is medical director.

The confederation wants more clinical input into its work on likely investment cuts.

Professor Mascie-Taylor said: “Given that clinicians, by the nature of their work, initiate much of the spending in healthcare, if the [funding] situation is to be dealt with effectively we have to have clinicians engaged [with the process].”

He agreed that NHS management needed to avoid fomenting an “us and them” division with clinicians and clinical groups, and said his role would involve an element of diplomacy.

“When a system is under pressure, as the NHS really will be, it is more likely that some of the difficult decisions that are [normally] hidden become more obvious.

“If the system is to work effectively then all parts need to work together more than ever. So part of the confederation’s role, and my role, is trying to make that happen. There is no point at times of stress in everybody falling out and blaming each other.”

King’s Fund chief executive Niall Dickson will leave the think tank in January to take up a role as chief executive of the General Medical Council. He will join the regulator as it takes on responsibility for the revalidation of doctors and continuous professional training and education.