The Health and Social Care Information Centre has appointed Professor Martin Severs as its Caldicott Guardian and lead clinician.

The move comes a month after the HSCIC was criticised for not having a clinician on its board, following the departure of Dr Mark Davies, its director of clinical and public assurance, who leaves at the end of the month.

Professor Severs is a practicing consultant geriatrician and Professor of healthcare for older people at the University of Portsmouth. He is also a well-known health informatics expert, both in the UK and internationally.  

Professor Severs leads on health information for the Royal College of Physicians and chairs the information advisory structure of the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges.

He led the led the Information Standards Board for Health and Care in England for more than a decade, until its roles were divided up among some of the new, national bodies being created for NHS IT.

And he designed, set up and chaired until 2012 the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation.

He was also the clinical lead on Dame Fiona Caldicott’s second review of information governance, which reported last year.

In a statement, Professor Severs said: “I am delighted to take up what will be a challenging role, but one that offers the opportunity to ensure best practice and foster public trust.

“It is important that clinical experience and expertise plays a key part within the leadership and development of the HSCIC as it continues to evolve and support the health and social care system.”

The HSCIC was set up on 1 April last year to collect and publish healthcare information; although it also took on many of the national infrastructure, projects and local service provider programmes of NHS Connecting for Health, when it was abolished.

Its chair, Kingsley Manning, said Professor Severs’ appointment would “further strengthen the leadership of the HSICIC, building confidence that we are operating to the highest standards and ensuring the contribution of care professionals to all aspects of our work.”