Professor Dame Sally Davies has been handed the role of interim Chief Medical Officer until a replacement is found for outgoing CMO Sir Liam Donaldson, the Department of Health has announced.

Following her tenure, Dame Sally will retain her position as Director-General of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health and National Health Service.

Sir Liam will step down from the role at the end of this month, and an “open competition” will be held in the summer to find a permanent replacement, the DH said.

Meanwhile, following the coronation of Andrew Lansley as the UK’s new health secretary, four new junior health ministers have also been unveiled over the last few days.

Conservative MPs Simon Burns, Earl Howe and Anne Milton as well as Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow have been selected to join the health team, although their individual portfolios had not been announced at time of going to press.