NHS England and Improvement have appointed Dr Timothy Ferris as its new director of transformation.

Dr Ferris will lead the organisation’s new Transformation Directorate, bringing together the NHSE/I operational improvement team and NHSX. It aims to maintain the pace of innovation seen during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Having served as a non-executive director of NHS Improvement for almost three years, Dr Ferris is internationally renowned for his work on improving health and care in hospital and community settings, according to an NHSE/I statement.

He joins the NHS full-time from the not-for-profit Massachusetts General Physicians Organisation, where he is chief executive, and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr Ferris also founded the Centre for Population Health, which champions the use of prevention and data to improve health, reduce inequalities, and save lives.

“The NHS and its staff have responded magnificently to the Covid-19 pandemic and I’m proud and excited to take up this role as the health service integrates convenient yet cutting-edge technology into patient care,” he said.

“The successful NHS vaccine programme and development of new therapies for Covid-19 has shown that the NHS can be hugely agile and innovative. I look forward to playing my part in ensuring that the NHS continues to stay at the forefront of developing and adopting new technologies and treatments to improve health and treatment.”

Matthew Gould, chief executive of NHSX, added: “Dr Ferris’ appointment is excellent news for the NHS, and for driving its digitally-led transformation.

“Over the past year, NHSX has helped the health and care system bring virtual consultations, remote working and remote monitoring of patients at home into the mainstream.

“Today’s news is another step putting digital transformation at the heart of the NHS and accelerating the pace of transformation.”

Dr Ferris will move to England to take up the role on secondment in May.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “The NHS has had an extraordinary year in which our staff have innovated in response to Covid-19, developing ground-breaking treatments and care.

“As a physician-leader with a global reputation, Dr Ferris will help drive and embed this momentum and ‘can do’ spirit, as we move beyond the pandemic.”