• Sir Chris Ham appointed as independent chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire STP
  • Comes after he warned NHS leaders to avoid being too prescriptive about regional integration in the long-term plan
  • Starts new role in January, after leaving King’s Fund

Outgoing King’s Fund chief executive Sir Chris Ham has been appointed as independent chair of a sustainability and transformation partnership in the West Midlands.

Sir Chris will chair the Coventry and Warwickshire STP – also known as Better Health, Better Care, Better Value – from January after he steps down from his role at the health policy think tank at the end of this year.

The STP is led by Andy Hardy, chief executive of the tertiary hospital trust in the patch, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust.

The STP has a stated ambition to become an integrated care system but progress on the transformation of clinical services across providers has been patchy. In Warwickshire, South Warwickshire Foundation Trust is promoting vertical integration based around the trust as a lead provider, starting with hospital services.

In a long career in health policy management, Sir Chris has been an early and enthusiastic proponent of integrated health and social care in the UK.

Last month, he warned that NHS leaders risk making a “huge mistake” if they made integration requirements too prescriptive in the long-term plan. He has argued relationships, rather than structures, are more important for regional integration.

Commenting on the appointment, Mr Hardy said: “Chris Ham brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to Coventry and Warwickshire and will play an essential role as we look to integrate services more closely across our health and care system.”

Sir Chris said: “We all want to see strong health and care services for local people and I’m really looking forward to using my experience to support Better Health, Better Care, Better Value across Coventry and Warwickshire.”