Jenny Harries

Jennifer Margaret Harries OBE is a British public health physician who has been the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency and head of NHS Test and Trace since April 2021. She was previously a regional director at Public Health England, and then Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England from June 2019 to April 2021.

Dr Jenny Harries

Jenny Harries.jpg
Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency
Head of NHS Test and Trace
Assumed office
1 April 2021
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byDido Harding (Acting)
Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England
In office
7 June 2019 – 31 March 2021
Serving with Jonathan Van-Tam (from 2017) [1]
Aidan Fowler (from 2020)[2]
Preceded byGina Radford
Succeeded byTBA
Personal details
Alma materUniversity of Birmingham
ProfessionPublic health physician[3]

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Monmouth,[4] Harries studied medicine at the University of Birmingham gaining an intercalated BSc in pharmacology in 1981 and medical degrees, MB ChB, in 1984.[3][5][6]


Harries was Regional Director for the South of England for Public Health England from February 2013 before being appointed Deputy Chief Medical officer for England in June 2019.[7][8] The appointment of a new Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty was announced simultaneously.[9]

She was appointed OBE in the 2016 New Year Honours.[10]

At a press conference with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (20 March 2020)

Harries is appearing at some of the daily press conferences held by the UK government to provide updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. She contributes medical information and answers questions from the press,[11] however some of her statements, including suggesting that those receiving fake virus-tracing phone calls could identify them from the tone of the conversation, have met with controversy and there have been calls on her to resign.[12][13]

Effective 1 April 2021, Harries was appointed as the first chief executive of the new UK Health Security Agency, which combines Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace.[14]


  1. ^ "Professor Chris Whitty". GOV.UK. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Dr Aidan Fowler". GOV.UK. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  3. ^ a b "General Medical Register". General Medical Council. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  4. ^ Chris Pyke, "Dr Jenny Harries: 'The Welsh wizard of coronavirus communication'", Business Live, 1 April 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2021
  5. ^ "Old Joe - New Year Honours". Old Joe.
  6. ^ "CPAG member biographies". NHS. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Regional Director, South of England: Dr Jenny Harries OBE". Department of Health and Social Care. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  8. ^ "New deputy chief medical officer appointed for England". Department of Health and Social Care. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  9. ^ "New chief medical officer appointed". Department of Health and Social Care. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Page N12 | Supplement 61450, 30 December 2015 | London Gazette | The Gazette".
  11. ^ "Meet Jenny Harries, the doctor talking sense in the coronavirus pandemic". The Telegraph. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Coronavirus: Government's senior advisers face calls to resign over testing 'incompetence'". The Independent. 2020-04-20.
  13. ^ "Coronavirus: Call for government's medical advisers to resign over COVID-19 testing". Yahoo! News. 2020-04-20. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  14. ^ "New UK Health Security Agency to lead response to future health threats". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2021-03-24.