Dr Sean O’Kelly

Page last updated: 6 June 2024


Following degrees in Medicine and Psychology at Bristol University Dr O'Kelly undertook postgraduate training in both paediatrics and anaesthetics at Southampton University Hospitals. He then joined the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor for six years as Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Paediatric Cardiac Anaesthesia.

Returning to the UK as an NHS Consultant Anaesthetist, Dr O'Kelly was one of the first delegates to join the year-long National Clinical Governance Development Programme, after which he worked with the NHS Modernisation Agency as National Clinical Lead for the Agency Associate Scheme.

In 2004 Dr O’Kelly was seconded to the Department of Health as Associate Medical Director to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer and in 2006 was also seconded to North Devon Healthcare Trust as Interim Medical Director during a period of performance turnaround. In 2009 Dr O'Kelly was appointed Medical Director at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust and in 2011 was appointed Medical Director at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust which, in 2016, became the first Acute Trust to move from a Requires Improvement to Outstanding CQC rating in one inspection interval. Dr O’Kelly was then appointed NHSI’s Medical Director for Professional Leadership in 2017 and then to the post of Regional Medical Director NHSEI for the East of England Region in 2019, following the coming together of NHSE and NHSI. In 2022 Dr O’Kelly was appointed to the CQC as Chief Inspector of Hospitals.

Dr O'Kelly has completed a Master of Science degree in Strategic Management at the University of Bristol, chaired the Department of Health National Steering Group on Cosmetic Surgery Regulation and acted as Honorary Treasurer to the Quality in Healthcare section of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Dr O’Kelly has also worked as a special adviser to the CQC, as an expert adviser to the World Health Organisation, and has served as a Non-Executive Director of a Clinical Commissioning Group.

Declaration of interests


Related information

Expenses of senior management and board members.

Sean O’Kelly, CQC Chief Inspector of Hospitals