Health Protection Agency chair David Heymann has today been appointed acting chair of Public Health England, the new national body for public health.

The Department of Health announced Dr Heyman would take up role with immediate effect until a permanent chair is appointed in the autumn.

PHE, which is due to launch in April next year, will lead efforts to improve public health services and provide expert advice and support to the NHS and local authorities.

Dr Heymann will work with chief executive Duncan Selbie to oversee efforts to get the new body up and running, including transition of staff and functions and the development of corporate governance arrangements.

“I am delighted to be given this tremendous opportunity to play a role in the development of Public Health England,” he said. “In particular, my appointment as acting chair of Public Health England will enable me to work closely with Duncan Selbie to help assure continuity of service provision as we move through the transition period.”