Professor Chris Balch has been appointed as the new Chair for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

He will begin the role on May 1 to ensure a smooth transition ahead of the end of current chair Sir Richard Ibbotson’s 10-year term, which ends on May 31, the NHS said in a statement.

Professor Bach has served as a non-executive director since April 2019, where he has led the work chairing the ‘Building a Brighter Future’ committee, which oversees the new hospital and electronic patient record programme.

Since March 2023 he has also been the senior independent director on the board of directors.

Professor Bach, who lives in South Devon, has a variety of interests in the local area, including social housing. A town planner and surveyor by background, he 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 of large regeneration projects and programmes.

He said: “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 welcomed the new appointment and thanked the outgoing chair, Sir Richard, “for his incredible commitment and unwavering support during the past 10 years”.

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.