Chair - Commission on Human Medicines

Body: Department of Health and Social Care
Appointing Department: Department of Health
Sector: Health
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: Up to £500 for the preparation required and attendance at each meeting
Time Requirements: A time commitment of approximately 33 days per year, including 11 meetings and any ad-hoc meetings based on need.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    23/11/2020 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

Ministers are seeking to make an appointment to the board of the Commission on Human Medicines.

Role and Responsibilities of the Chair

The Chair will provide strong and effective leadership of the Commission in the fulfilment of its remit.

The Chair of CHM has to lead an expert science advisory committee whose principal tasks are to advise the Licensing Authority (the UK Health Ministers) and its executive arm, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), on matters relating to human medicinal products including the licensing of medicines that are safe, efficacious and of good quality.

The Chair needs to be able to synthesize complex information and present it authoritatively to ministers as required. They have to be able to master a very wide range of medical and pharmacological issues, many of which would be out of any one practitioner’s area of expertise, and chair to consensus a commission which comprises a range of eminent medical experts and some lay members.

Future challenges to the Commission are likely to come in the novel technologies and types of medicines which will come before the Commission, on which it will have to balance the risk and benefit to patients and society. The chair will have to lead this process.

The Department is particularly looking for someone, qualified as a doctor, with the highest scientific and medical standing. This role requires an individual who is well respected by other medics and scientists, by academia, industry and the MHRA.

The Chair of CHM should be prepared to relinquish all personal and non-personal interests of a financial nature in the pharmaceutical industry.

Person Specification

The Department of Health and Social Care values and promotes diversity and encourages applications from all sections of the community. The boards of public bodies should reflect the population they are there to serve. Boards also benefit from fresh perspectives, and we are always keen to encourage candidates with private sector experience to consider applying for our roles.

Essential Criteria

To be considered, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the qualities, skills and experience to meet all the essential criteria for appointment.

The successful candidate will:

  • be recognised by peers as a leader in their field, e.g. by national academies and Royal Colleges;
  • have the ability to effectively lead a national expert science advisory committee
  • be a skilled communicator, with the ability to speak on a range of relevant issues (not just on their own area of specialism) and be able and prepared to contribute to the range of work on the Commission;
  • have experience in the evaluation of benefits and risks of medicines; contribute to and ensure that the Commission’s advice takes account of a wider view of risk – benefit, particularly as it is perceived by public stakeholders;
  • be able to assimilate complex scientific information at short notice; and consider, comment and contribute by drawing on their individual expertise and judgement, to provide formal and informal advice to Ministers and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in accordance with the Commission’s terms of reference when required;

Desirable criteria

  • possess or develop a working knowledge and understanding of regulations

Additional Information

The functions of the CHM are:

  • To advise Ministers on matters relating to human medicinal products (except those that fall under the remit of The Advisory Board on the Registration of Homeopathic Products (ABRHP) and the Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee (HMAC) including giving advice in relation to the safety, quality and efficacy of human medicinal products, where either the CHM think it appropriate or where it is asked to do so.
  • To advise the Licensing Authority (LA) where the LA has a duty to consult the CHM or where the LA chooses to consult the CHM.
  • To consider representations made in relation to the CHM’s advice (either in writing or at a hearing) by an applicant or by a licence or Marketing Authorisation (MA) holder; and;
  • to promote the collection and investigation of information relating to adverse reactions for human medicines (except for those products that fall within the remit of ABRHP or HMAC) for the purposes of enabling such advice to be given.

Background on some aspects of the CHM’s work

An annual report is produced at the end of each calendar year which is laid before parliament and made public. A link to the 2019 report is available through the Gov.UK website:

Quote from the current Chair, Stuart Ralston

“It has been a real pleasure to act as the Chair of CHM over the past seven years.  Although the workload has been fairly intense at times, it has been a wonderful learning experience and I have been very well supported by all members of staff at the MHRA who are true professionals and a credit to the civil service.  If you have an interest in clinical medicine then I think that to chair CHM is probably one of the most important and rewarding things that you will do in your career”.

Professor Stuart H Ralston

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