The national deputy medical director and director of specialised commissioning for the NHS has been subjected to a police investigation.
Jonathan Fielden will be removed from his daily duties in the meantime, while the General Medical Council has also restricted him from any contact with patients.
Fielden had joined NHS England relatively recently, moving into his new position at the beginning of 2016.
The director previously worked as a medical director at University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust for four years.
Fielden also served as chair of the British Medical Association consultants committee.
There has been little comment on the reasons behind this issue, but a spokesman did issue a brief statement indicating that Fielden will indeed be replaced temporarily by John Stewart.
“Dr Fielden is off work for personal reasons, and John Stewart has become acting director of specialised commissioning.”
Stewart previously worked as director of specialist commissioning policy, and thus brings a huge amount of experience and expertise to the role.
Although this news has only just broken, the media is reporting that Fielden has actually been absent from work since January.
A notice on Dr Fielden’s GMC registration lists several conditions on his practice, with effect from 9th January 2017, suggesting that the current situation has been applicable for over a month.
“He must only work in roles which do not involve patient contact and which are within the National Health Service. He must keep the GMC informed of the progress of the police investigation, specifically any revised bail dates and conditions and any criminal charges within 48 hours of any such events,” the notice reads.
Meanwhile, Fielden has been removed from his position at NHS England, and has not attended his work as director of specialised commissioning for several weeks.
The issue will certainly be a major blow to the executive tranche of NHS England, with Fielden having overseen significant transformation since beginning the role.
In particular, the director has been responsible for the first specialised services brief of the healthcare body, although his work in this area has not always been welcomed by NHS rank and file.
Fielden presided over controversial decisions regarding savings and budget prioritisation.
The overall budget that Fielden oversees is worth in excess of £10 billion.
There has been no comment from the General Medical Council as of yet, and it seems that Fielden himself is understandably keeping a low profile.
The nature of the allegations are also unsubstantiated, but it seems that an investigation is ongoing.