Dr Sara Hurley

Independent Director of the University of Suffolk Board

Vice-Chancellor's Office
Sara Hurley staff photo

Sara Hurley, Chief Dental Officer England (2015-present), commenced her career as a General Dental Practitioner with the British Army in 1988, providing care to service personnel and their families in a range of UK and overseas locations. With a firm grounding in clinical dentistry and running dental practices for the Armed Forces she complemented her clinical portfolio with an MSc in Dental Public Health (UCL) in 2004 and an MA in Defence Studies (KCL) in 2007. She is honoured to have been awarded Fellowships with the College of General Dentistry and the Faculty of Dental Surgery (RCS England).

During her military career, as principal advisor on oral health matters with Director General of the Army Medical Services, she initiated a re-design of dental care provision for recruits.  This 2005 innovation in the recruit care pathway endures and continues to deliver better oral health outcomes and improvements in military dental fitness. Sara also supported the Defence Medical Services School of Dental Nurse and Hygienist Training (2004-2006) as a visiting lecturer and later at the Defence Medical Services Training College (2006-2008).  She has pursued an interest into the health outcomes of ex-Service personnel, with a short tenure at Manchester Harris Oxford (the 2012 Farmington Fellowship programme) and contributed to Lord Ashcroft’s Veterans’ Transition Review (2014). Sara completed her military service at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Birmingham as Commanding Officer of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, with the concurrent role of Chief Dental Officer for the Army. This was accompanied by her appointment as Queen’s Honorary Dental Surgeon, an honour she relinquished on her transition to Chief Dental Officer England.

Appointed Chief Dental Officer England in July 2015 Sara leads a multidisciplinary team providing professional and clinical advice into the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Health Education England; supporting each organisation to fulfil its strategic planning and policy responsibilities and delivering on national oral health/dental care priorities. During her tenure she focussed on dental workforce education and career development as an integral element of the national initiatives to improve oral health, increase access and reduce health inequalities.

Concurrent with her University of Suffolk Board membership she is a Trustee of the Global Child Dental Fund and Director of its international Senior Dental Leaders Programme.