Professor Field, a GP in Birmingham, will leave his current post as deputy national medical director at NHS England to take up the role.
He said his appointment was a ‘wonderful opportunity’ to highlight what is good in general practice, and ‘shine a light on what isn’t’.
The new chief inspector’s responsibilities include promoting the interests of patients, judging care quality, ensuring health and social care services join up, and introducing a ratings system for providers.
Professor Field said the role would enable him to ensure primary medical services put the issue of health inequality high on its agenda.
’It will also allow me to focus on making sure that people receive health and care services that are integrated’, he added.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who first announced the new role in May, said Professor Field would be a ‘formidable’ chief inspector, ‘who will speak up for patients without fear or favour’.
‘Steve will have the power and authority to judge how well each practice is serving patients, help us to celebrate the best practices, and take tough action where standards aren’t up to scratch.’
RCGP chairwoman Professor Clare Gerada said the college was delighted by the appointment.
‘As a GP and immediate past chairman of the RCGP, he has a long history of service to general practice and to his patients. It is really encouraging that the role will be carried out by someone who understands GPs and the challenges we face in delivering the best possible patient care with diminishing budgets and resources.
‘We know that Steve will champion general practice and the efforts of hardworking GPs in his new role and bring sense to the array of inspection regimes that GPs are already subjected to.’