Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership this week welcomed its first non-executive chair to its board.

David Highton, (pictured right) Chair for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and a former Chief Executive for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, David brings a wealth of experience to the role of overseeing of the work of the STP in transforming the health and care system across the region.

David said: “The NHS is entering a period of big changes, with health and care organisations working closer than ever before to make sure that our community has better and more joined up care.

“It is a genuine privilege to be able take on the role of chair for the STP as it works to transform the lives of the people of Kent and Medway for the better. The improvements that we are delivering will ensure we continue to have an NHS that we can be proud of and supports us and our families throughout our lives.”

The STP is a partnership of all the NHS organisations in Kent and Medway, Kent County Council and Medway Council, working together to deliver better care for patients.  Key priorities for the partnership over the coming year include improving children’s services, mental health care, GP services and cancer care. It is working towards becoming an integrated care system by April 2020.

Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Chief Executive, Glenn Douglas, said: “I’m really pleased that someone of David’s calibre is joining us as our new chair. The chair undertakes a key oversight role, making sure that our work is delivered to the highest quality by providing the insight and expertise into how it should be being delivered and what our communities expect from us. David’s past roles in health and his experience of working in the Kent system will be invaluable as we change health and care for the better.”

David has extensive experience at a senior level in the NHS and in health systems across the world. Before joining Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, David was a ministerial advisor to the Minister for Public Health in Qatar, and before that the Executive Director of Corporate Development for Qatar’s main public hospital provider, Hamad Medical Corporation.

As well as his role as chair at Kent and Medway STP, which is scheduled to run until 31 March 2020, David will continue as chair at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.

Outside of the health sector, David worked in the publishing, property, industrial and financial sectors before joining the NHS in 1990 as finance director. He has extensive links with Kent, having spent his childhood in the Meopham and Sittingbourne areas, and now lives in Whitstable.

Share your thoughts on our plans

The NHS in Kent and Medway is planning to change the way some aspects of health and care services are organised so they can provide better, more joined-up care.

This includes GP practices working together in networks called ‘primary care networks’; creating four new ‘integrated care partnerships’ across Kent and Medway, drawing together all the NHS organisations in a given area and working more closely with health improvement services and social care; and creating a single commissioning organisation for Kent and Medway, led by local doctors, to take a ‘bird’s eye view’ of health priorities for local people and look at where shared challenges, such as cancer and mental health, should be tackled together.

You can find out more about these plans here, and give your thoughts on them – by Friday 16 August – here