Sir Liam Donaldson has been appointed as the new chairman of the National Patient Safety Agency.

Sir Liam is currently chief medical officer for England, a post he has held for 12 years.

Sir Liam has been a tireless promoter of safer patient care

He is due to take up his new post in early July 2010.

Commenting on his appointment, Sir Liam said: “Improving the safety of care is a priority for health services worldwide. The NHS was one of the first to establish a programme of patient safety. I look forward to helping to make further progress. Quality and safety of healthcare has been a passion of mine for over 25 years.”

Current NPSA chairman Lord Naren Patel, who announced his intention to step down from the post last year, said he is delighted with the appointment.

He said: “Sir Liam has been a tireless promoter of safer patient care and the effect this has had in reducing harm and death amongst patients is significant.”

As chair, Sir Liam will be paid £36,780 a year and his term will last four years.