NHS West Essex has appointed Catherine O’Connell, previously its director of strategy, as chief executive.

She replaces Aidan Thomas, who has become chief of Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Foundation Trust.

Ms O’Connell said: “NHS West Essex has a strong track record of achievement upon which I intend to build. My priorities will include establishing NHS West Essex as a world class commissioning PCT, working closely with local providers and social care colleagues and tackling health inequalities in partnership with the local district and town councils.”

The primary care trust finished 39 out of 148 in HSJ’s world class commissioning league table, published in March.