Professor Michael Thorne CBE has been appointed as the new independent chair of the Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP).

A former Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of Anglia Ruskin University, Professor Thorne joins the Partnership this month (September).

Professor Thorne said: “I am delighted to be joining colleagues across the health and care system in mid and south Essex to build on the successes they have already achieved.

“It is an exciting yet challenging time to become involved as the Partnership continues its journey to deliver the ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan over the next five years

“I am committed to ensuring that partnership working continues to be a strong theme and to play my part in the drive to improve the health and care of the communities we service.”

Professor Thorne brings with him a wide range of top level senior leadership experience. He retired as Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University in March 2016, a post he had served in since 2007.

During his time at Anglia Ruskin University, he founded the Postgraduate Medical Institute which led to the ground breaking and highly successful establishment last year of the Anglia Ruskin University’s Medical School at its Chelmsford campus.

Prior to that he was Vice Chancellor at the University of East London for five years and has been a chair and member of a number of government committees.

Professor Thorne’s appointment comes as Dr Anita Donley OBE steps down from the role she has held for more than three and a half years.

Dr Donley said: “The time is now right for me to hand the baton over as the Partnership embarks on becoming a fully integrated care system by 2021 and I am delighted someone of Professor Thorne’s calibre is taking up the mantle.

“Thanks to considerable commitment from colleagues and stakeholders across the system, I leave as we are seeing the real benefits the significant investment in working together has brought to our area particularly for our hospital, primary care and digital teams.”

The Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership brings together the leaders of 17 health and social care organisations including hospitals, mental health service providers, community service providers, clinical commissioning groups and local authorities.

Professor Sheila Salmon, chair of Essex Partnership University Foundation Trust and chair of the Partnership’s chairs’ group over saw the appointment of the new independent chair.

She said; “I am delighted that we have secured the appointment of Professor Thorne to head our Partnership board.

“As independent chair, he will bring drive and renewed impetus, working tirelessly across the mid and south Essex patch to continue support and promote partnership working, while also holding us to account to deliver on our aspirations to continually improve the health of the people and communities that we serve”.

“We also thank Dr Donley for her tremendous service to this area over the past three and half years, leaving us with a firm legacy on which to continue building lasting improvements to the health and care of our region.”