Professor David Haslam has been named as the UK Government’s preferred candidate for the position as chair of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

If successful, Professor Haslam will take over as chairman of NICE from Professor Sir Michael Rawlins next year, who has chaired the drug pricing watchdog since its creation in 1999.

Prof Haslam was previously president of the British Medical Association and was also president of the Royal College of General Practitioners from 2006 to 2009.

From 1976 to 2011 he was a GP in Huntingdon, and is an experienced publisher and broadcaster on health issues. Prof Haslam is also currently chair of the NICE Evidence Accreditation Advisory Committee and was awarded the CBE in 2004 for services to medicine and healthcare.

Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE’s chief executive, has welcomed Prof Haslam’s candidacy, saying: “We are delighted to learn that Professor David Haslam is the preferred candidate to become the new Chair of NICE, from April 2013. His extensive experience in health and his awareness of the challenges facing social care, together with his knowledge of the Institute, make him an ideal candidate to lead NICE into the next exciting phase of its development.”

After the pre-appointment hearing this week, the health select committee, which always rigourously questions any governmental appointment, will set out its views on the candidate’s suitability.