Wales’ top doctor Tony Jewell said he will step down as Wales’ chief medical officer (CMO) next summer after six years in the post.

The CMO provides independent professional advice and guidance on health and healthcare matters to Welsh Government ministers and the Assembly.

Officials say Dr Jewell, 61, had championed a number of healthy lifestyle measures in Wales during his time in office - such as banning smoking in public places, reducing binge drinking and promoting physical activity.

A government spokeswoman said: “Dr Jewell’s key focus in his time as CMO has been on Our Healthy Future and tacking the inequalities in health that exist across the country.

“He has been an especially strong voice on reducing smoking in the Welsh community.

“This included managing the introduction of the ban on smoking in the workplace, public places, pubs and restaurants.

“Reducing the impact of the misuse of alcohol has also been a theme of Dr Jewell’s time as CMO.”

The Welsh government also said Dr Jewell had been “instrumental” in creating a new infrastructure for public health in Wales.

“This has included leading the creation of the Public Health Wales NHS Trust with its key areas of work across the domains of public health practice and the appointment of directors of public health in local health boards,” the spokeswoman added.

Dr Jewell, who intends to continue to contribute to public health in Sub-Saharan Africa, said it had been an enormous privilege to hold the position of CMO.

He said: “When I was appointed I said I would undertake the role for five years and so I feel the time is right to move on.

“I’d like to thank all the staff who have supported me during my time as CMO.

“I’m particularly proud that public health now plays a much more influential role in the (Welsh) NHS than ever before.

“Strategies such as Our Healthy Future have also laid the foundations for the NHS to place a greater emphasis on prevention and promotion and focusing on making the NHS a wellness service rather than a sickness service.

“Only by focusing on prevention can we tackle the big public health issues such as smoking, obesity and alcohol and make the NHS more efficient.”