NHS Direct has appointed Dr Brian Gaffney as its first Director of Public Health in a bid to build on and develop relationships with GPs, hospitals and those working in the public health sector.
Dr Gaffney, a GP in Northern Ireland, will operate in the role on a part-time basis to allow him to continue his day-to-day work. He has been National Public Health Advisor for NHS Direct since October 2009.
An NHS doctor of 25 years' experience, Dr Gaffney trained in Ireland and England. He qualified as a consultant in public health medicine in 1993 and had a 13-year spell as chief executive of the Northern Ireland Health Promotion Agency before leaving last year.
In his new role, Dr Gaffney will help formulate long-term public health programmes as well as have responsibility for developing and evaluating the service in response to changing public health needs.
He said: ""I am delighted to take on this significant and challenging role. NHS Direct already has excellent relationships with many doctors and I hope I can build on these and increase our collaboration in the future."