Deborah Tomalin

Deborah Tomalin

Director of Public Health Commissioning and Operations, NHS England

Deborah took up the role Director of Public Health Commissioning and Operations in April 2019 for NHS England and NHS Improvement. Deborah is responsible for the commissioning and operations of the Section 7a services in England – screening (cancer and non-cancer), immunisations/flu and Child Health Information Services. Underpinning successful delivery of all these services is digital technology and Deborah works very closely with NHSX and NHSD as the business owner of the digital transformation of screening. Since October 2021, when Public Health England was disbanded, she has welcomed many of the screening programme team into her central NHSEI team and taken on additional functional responsibilities such as live IT, publications, research advisory processes and is now working with colleagues to devise a new screening and immunisation operating model for NHSEI with the NHSEI regional public health commissioning teams and the Screening Quality Assurance Service team who also moved into NHSEI.

Deborah started working for NHS England in April 2013 as Associate Director South East Coast Strategic Clinical Networks & Clinical Senate creating 4 strategic clinical networks and a clinical senate and then became Director of Commissioning across Surrey and Sussex in 2014, which at that time covered specialised commissioning, public health and primary care. She then became Director of Commissioning for Kent, Surrey and Sussex (South East Region) in 2017 covering public health and primary care.

Prior to NHS England, Deborah spent over 16 years setting up and managing “clinical networks” in the NHS starting as the Director of the Sussex Cancer Network in 1999 and moving by 2010 to directing one team running 14 managed clinical networks for Sussex.

Deborah started working in the NHS 40 years ago training to be a nurse in 1982, completing a BSc in Nursing Studies at St Georges Hospital/Kings College (KQC) as one of the first nurse graduates, and then held a variety of nursing posts in London, ran clinical research trials, undertook research for Royal College of Nursing and then the Nursing Research Unit at Kings College, London. Wanting to have more operational experience she moved to an acute Trust in 1992, in Brighton, to establish a clinical audit function and then clinical risk management system with a spell as Assistant Director of Quality which is what led to the cancer network position at the health authority.

Three children meant her endeavours to complete her PhD fell to the wayside, but with no regrets! Her breast cancer in 2016 was screen detected little knowing she would then be responsible for those services 3 years later. Yoga, dog walks, friends and eating out, Zumba, travel, pilates and a weekly run with audible books are her work life balance pleasures.