NHS North West regional director of public health Ruth Hussey has been appointed to a leading role in Public Health England.

HSJ understands Dr Hussey will be the body’s interim director of public health during the transition period to the new public health system.

Public Health England will take on the responsibilities of a number of existing organisations, including the Health Protection Agency, and oversee control of public health by local authorities and the creation of health and wellbeing boards – as set out in the white paper Healthy Lives, Healthy People.

Ms Hussey will be part of a transition executive team chaired by transition managing director Anita Marsland – the former chief executive of NHS Knowsley.

A Department of Health spokeswoman confirmed that Dr Hussey would be part of the transition team, but would continue to work one day a week at NHS North West.

NHS North West chair Sally Cheshire said Dr Hussey would be leaving her full time role at the strategic health authority in a letter to staff yesterday.

Ms Cheshire wrote that the DH role was “a testament to the respect in which Ruth is held”.

The SHA’s current director of children, young people and maternity Ann Hoskins will now step up to lead on public health in the North West region, the letter said.

Dr Hussey ranked 82 in last year’s HSJ100 list of the most influential people in healthcare. Before joining the SHA, she held the posts of director of health strategy/medical director at Cheshire and Merseyside Strategic Health Authority and acting director of public health/medical director at Greater Manchester SHA.

She is an honorary fellow at Liverpool John Moores University and a visiting professor at the University of Liverpool.