Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust announce appointment of new Chair

Published: 12 February 2024

Chris BalchProfessor Chris Balch has been appointed as the new Chair for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust. He will begin the role on 1 May 2024 to ensure a smooth transition ahead of the end of current Chair Sir Richard Ibbotson’s 10-year term on 31 May 2024.

Chris is no stranger to Torbay and South Devon, having served as a Non-Executive Director since April 2019 where he has led their transformation work chairing the Building a Brighter Future committee which oversees the new hospital programme and the new electronic patient record programme among other transformation programmes. Since March 2023 Chris has been the Senior Independent Director on the Board of Directors.

Chris, who lives in South Devon, has a variety of interests in the local area including social housing. A town planner and surveyor by background, Chris is Emeritus Professor of planning at Plymouth University, and has held senior executive positions with an international property advisory company, providing advice to public and private sector clients specialising in the planning and delivery of major regeneration projects and programmes.

Chris said: “I am delighted to be appointed as Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s new Chair. I am looking forward to building on the success of Sir Richard, addressing our financial and performance challenges, and celebrating our people.

“We have a lot to be proud of in Torbay and South Devon, and it’s an exciting time to be here with the multi-million-pound development of our Torbay Hospital site, our new electronic patient record and further developing our innovative model of community and out of hospital care. We have a clear plan in place with our system partners to make the improvements that we need and I am committed to ensuring we hold ourselves to account and support each other to deliver it.”

Chief Executive Liz Davenport said: “I am pleased to confirm Chris as our new Chair. He is as committed to improving our health and care services and helping us to continue to deliver our successful work in reducing the amount of time people are waiting for their procedures and appointments.

“I would also like to thank Sir Richard for his incredible commitment and unwavering support during the past 10 years. His compassion for ensuring we provide better health and care for all has been exemplary. He will be greatly missed, but I know Chris will ensure we continue his great work.”

The appointment has been made by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s Council of Governors following an open recruitment process in January 2024.