The role of NHS Confederation chair is to become an appointed, paid post after a radical shake-up of the organisation’s governance.

Trustees will also be appointed, rather than elected, and there will be a single corporate board comprising executive and non-executive directors.

Its “consultative forum”, the entity that will replace the council, will cut ties with Wales and Northern Ireland to focus on English health policy.

The plans are outlined in a consultation document this week.

Chief executive Steve Barnett told HSJ the changes would enable the organisation to “identify big cross-cutting issues”, while using its networks to represent the views of different parts of the NHS.

The confederation has been criticised for allowing the networks to take a greater role at the expense of its council.

Mr Barnett said devolving Wales and Northern Ireland would avoid confusion over which policies applied where.

He said the new chair post would involve “royal duties”, as well as sharing responsibility for governance and commercial development. “It’s unreasonable to expect a chair of a PCT or foundation trust to spend three days at work for the trust and three days for the confederation [each week],” he said.

The confederation is also planning to set up a “blue sky thinking unit”, headed up by policy director Nigel Edwards.

Mr Barnett said this was a central component of the confederation’s strategic review, carried out last year and which it refuses to publish.