• First female CMO to step down in the autumn
  • Appointed master of Trinity College, Cambridge
  • Search for a successor will start “shortly”

Dame Sally Davies will step down as England’s chief medical officer at the end of September, after nine years in the post.

Dame Sally, who was the first female CMO, has been appointed the first female master of Trinity College, Cambridge, by the Queen. She will take up her new post on 8 October.

Unusually for the CMO role, Dame Sally was not from a public health background. Instead, she was a consultant haematologist for 30 years.

Dame Sally became director general of research and development for the NHS before setting up the National Institute for Health Research in 2006. She was appointed to the role of CMO in 2010, becoming the UK civil service’s top doctor.

She was involved in the UK government’s response to several public health crises, including the Ebola epidemics, flu pandemics, and the Novichok attack in Salisbury last year.

Dame Sally was also credited with raising the profile for tackling antimicrobial resistance around the world, which continues to be a key global health policy for the British government.

In 2016, she issued the first guidance on alcohol consumption from a CMO in 20 years. It said people should consume no more than 14 units of alcohol spread across several days in a week, adding there is no safe limit to alcohol consumption, sparking accusations of “scaremongering”.

In a statement, the Department of Health and Social Care said: “An external recruitment process will launch shortly.”