OXFORDSHIRE'S new director of public health has been appointed and will start his new role in August.

Ansaf Azhar is currently the interim director of public health for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council in the West Midlands.

The county council's chief executive Yvonne Rees emailed staff to tell them the news on Friday.

She said the appointment was being made after a 'tough and very competitive process'.

Mr Azhar wrote: “ I am thrilled to join Oxfordshire County Council as the new Director of Public Health. I started my career as a Pharmacist and soon moved into Public Health as I am passionate about improving population health and reducing inequalities.

"Over the last decade I have worked in many organisations and settings and throughout all these I have always been driven by the level of positive impact we make to our population and communities at a local level. I am really excited to work in Oxfordshire."

He added: "I believe we have a fantastic opportunity to build on the good work so far and continue to create a healthy place with our residents."

He will replace Jonathan McWilliam, who left in January, and will become one of the council's top-earning officials. Councillors discussed the appointment in March.