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NHSE chief officer takes role in Singapore

Published on: 16 Aug 2023

The NHS’s first chief sustainability officer Nick Watts has stepped back from the role after nearly three years, HSJ has learned.

Dr Watts, who was appointed to the role in 2020 to lead the health service’s net zero drive, has taken up a post as professor at the National University of Singapore. He will also be doing some work for the University of Notre Dame in the US.

He has been replaced by deputy director of Greener NHS Chris Gormley. When asked by HSJ, NHS England confirmed the move and described Dr Watts’ departure as a career break. 

Dr Watts is also the former executive director of Lancet Countdown, which monitors climate change, and is from Australia. He was first hired by the NHS in 2019 to lead a panel to set a date for its net zero ambition, before taking over as chief sustainability officer the year after. 

The NHS announced its goal to reach net zero in 2020, becoming the first health service in the world to take the step. 

The ambition to reach net zero for direct emissions by 2040 and for all others by 2045 has since become legislation.

Meanwhile, Mr Gormley previously led NHSE’s policy group, and worked as a civil servant on energy and climate change.