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Trust names first new chair in 10 years

Published on: 12 Feb 2024

An acute and community trust in one of the country’s most challenged systems has announced a replacement for its long-serving chair, who will leave the organisation in May.

Sir Richard Ibbotson will depart from Torbay and South Devon Foundation Trust when his current term expires in three months. He has chaired the trust for 10 years.

Sir Richard will be replaced by Chris Balch, who has worked for the trust as a non-executive director since 2019.

The long-serving chair was initially due to step down in spring last year, but he agreed to stay for a further one-year term at the invitation of the trust’s council, it has said.

TSDFT is part of Devon integrated care system, which is in tier four of the NHS Oversight Framework – previously known as “special measures” – for performance and financial difficulties.

The recruitment process for TSDFT’s new chair was led by NHS England, whose regional director for the South West – Elizabeth O’Mahony – was part of the interview panel.

In his current role with TSDFT, Professor Balch has overseen major infrastructure projects such as the incoming electronic patient record and the redevelopment of Torbay Hospital under the government’s New Hospitals Programme.

He is a town planner and surveyor by background, and he also holds the position of emeritus professor of planning at Plymouth University.

He said: “It’s an exciting time to be here with the multimillion pound development of our Torbay Hospital site, our new EPR, and further developing our innovative model of community and out-of-hospital care.”

TSDFT CEO Liz Davenport praised Sir Richard’s “exemplary” passion for “ensuring we provide better health and care for all”.