The King's Fund moved this week to reaffirm its establishment credentials with the appointment of former Department of Health permanent secretary Sir Graham Hart as its new chair.

The appointment is made directly by King's Fund president Prince Charles.

One leading academic suggested that Sir Graham, who takes up the post in September, would be seen as a 'balance' to chief executive Rabbi Julia Neuberger, whose more radical approach has shaken up the organisation.

He added: 'They are from different worlds.'

Sir Graham retired in November after a civil service career spanning four decades. He took over at the DoH in 1992, having previously been secretary of the Scottish home and health department.

This week Sir Graham paid tribute to the 'international reputation for independence, excellence and integrity' of the King's Fund.

He succeeds Marius Gray, who has chaired the organisation since 1989.

Mr Gray also chairs the Royal London Hospital's special trustees and is a member of the board of trustees at St Bartholomew's Hospital.