Professor Hazell was the first lay member of the public to be appointed to the role of NMC chair, taking up his post on 1 January 2009. His original term of office was due to have ended in December 2011, but he agreed to extend his term by 12 months.
Commenting on his decision, Professor Hazell said: “I have been committed to providing continuity of leadership and support through a difficult phase for the NMC and to get the organisation back on track.
“In the last few months we have completely reassessed our work to ensure that everything we do is focused on our primary purpose: protecting the public. I believe that we are already making significant progress in this direction.
“The strategic review announced by the Department of Health and currently being undertaken by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE), will, I am sure bring further clarity to the NMC’s role and purpose.
“The past few months have been extremely challenging but I am confident that the organisation is now going in the right direction and will continue to do so under the excellent leadership of the Acting Chief Executive, Jackie Smith. For these reasons, I feel that the time is now right for me to step down from the role of chair.
“It has been a huge privilege to have served as the first appointed lay chair of the NMC and I have found my time at the NMC enormously satisfying. I am grateful for the support of my fellow Council members and for the support of the staff at the NMC.”
Council members have nominated Professor Judith Ellis MBE, Executive Dean for Health and Social Care at London South Bank University and a current registrant member of Council to succeed as Deputy Chair.
Professor Judith Ellis said: “We are all extremely grateful to Tony Hazell for his leadership of Council over the last three years and we send our thanks and best wishes for the future.
“We have commenced the work of reviewing our priorities and Council and staff now look forward to working with the CHRE to further identify how we can deliver our core regulatory functions in the most efficient and effective manner.
“The strategic and governance role of Council will be vitally important in the next few months and I am delighted to act as the Deputy Chair of the NMC until a new appointment can be made.”