Former NHS South of England chief executive Sir Ian Carruthers has joined the board of major private sector mental health provider Partnerships in Care.

The company announced this afternoon that it had appointed Sir Ian – whose NHS career spanned 43 years – as a non-executive director.

The Partnerships in Care group is one of the UK’s major independent sector operators of mental health hospitals. In January 2013 it ran 16 medium- and low-secure hospitals, with a combined bed base of 1,008, according to market analysts Laing and Buisson.

Sir Ian was, until April, chief executive of the NHS South of England strategic health authority cluster, covering the South Central, South West, and South East Coast regions.

He was also responsible for the recent Innovation Health and Wealth review of innovation in healthcare - on behalf of then NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson - and has undertaken reviews of procurement and reconfiguration in the NHS.

Partnerships in Care group chief executive Joy Chamberlain said in a statement: “At Partnerships in Care we are committed to providing high quality services, and place great importance on achieving outcomes for patients and our partners in the NHS. Sir Ian’s experience will be invaluable in delivering to the quality and safety standards expected.”

In addition to attending board meetings, Sir Ian will chair the group’s quality and risk committee.

According to the statement, Sir Ian’s other current roles include serving as chair of the Healthcare UK governance board, chair of the Innovation Health and Wealth implementation board, chancellor of the University of the West of England, co-chair of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, and non-executive director of bio-decontamination specialist Bioquell plc.