An exemption has been granted to allow Sir Michael Rawlins which could result in an extension of his tenure as chair of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

Sir Michael’s ten-year term in office comes to the end on March 31, the maximum length of service. However, Lord Darzi’s NHS Next Stage Review, published in the summer, “envisages a significantly expanded role for NICE and the potential for doubling the size of the organisation over the next few years”, says the Commission, and this has created “exceptional circumstances”.

In view of these developments, the Commissioner for Public Appointments, Janet Gaymer, has granted an exemption to the Code of Practice to allow Sir Michael to compete for the position of chair “alongside other candidates in a full and open competition”.

Details of the vacancy will be available on the Commission’s website from December 5 and iInterviews are expected to be held in early February. The appointment will run for four years and were Sir Michael to reapply and be successful, his term of office would be limited to a final two years.

The salary for this position will be from £46,588-£62,117 per year, for up to three days a week, said the Appointments Commission, which noted that it will also be recruiting three new non-executive members for the NICE Board in the New Year.

The news came just as the NICE conference got under way in Manchester. Coverage of the meeting and an interview with Sir Michael will appear on PharmaTimes World and UK News over the next week.