The Department of Health’s workforce director Clare Chapman has resigned.

Ms Chapman, who has been at the DH for over four years, will leave in July and start as BT’s group people director in September.

She will be replaced on an interim basis by Jan Sobeiraj, who is currently DH director of leadership, on assignment from NHS Sheffield.

Ms Chapman told HSJ: “I’ve been at the DH for four and a half years and now is the right time to move on.

“This has been so much more than just a job for me. I thought the role at BT was a good way of using what I’ve learnt…about funding out what matters to staff and patients and putting that at the forefront.”

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson said: “We are going to miss Clare. She has been an advocate and champion of partnership for the improvement of health care skills and workplaces.

“During her time in health, Clare has delivered sector-wide initiatives such as the Centre for Workforce Intelligence, the Social Partnership Forum, the Equality and Diversity Council and the National Leadership Council.

“Through the NHS Constitution and her work on the NHS values, Clare has taken a leading role in ensuring the department’s policy work is well grounded in what matters to the public, patients and staff.”

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said:”She has worked tirelessly to ensure that workforce issues in the NHS and social care system are at the heart of our policies. I wish Clare the best of luck in her new role at BT.”

The workforce department is one of several several directorates being reviewed as part of an internal DH shake-up. However, Ms Chapman said she would eventually be replaced with a permanent director-general.

The planned restructure would reduce the number of directorates from 14 to just four: finance and strategy; corporate affairs; public health policy; and social care.

Consultation with staff ended in March and HSJ understands a formal announcement on the structure of the NHS Commissioning Board and DH is currently expected in the second week of July.