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Former DH adviser named new King's Fund chief

By Nigel Praities

A controversial academic has been announced as new chief executive of influential think-tank the King's Fund.

Professor Chris Ham, professor of health policy and management at the University of Birmingham, will take over the post from incumbent Niall Dickson from April 2010.

Professor Ham was director of the strategy unit at the Department of Health between 2000 and 2004 and was responsible for the formation of primary care trusts, foundation trusts and the much-maligned payment by results scheme.

Since then he has been a key voice on the value of competition in the NHS and the role of practice-based commissioning.

In a recent editorial in the British Medical Journal he slammed Conservative plans to reduce targets and increase competition for simply accelerating the policies began under Tony Blair, and said they were likely to have little extra impact.

Sir Cyril Chantler, chairman of The King's Fund, said he was delighted at Professor Ham's appointment.

‘Chris brings with him extensive expertise in health care, an internationally recognised reputation for research, communication and thought leadership, and a genuine commitment to improvement of health care,' he said.

Professor Ham said: ‘I have worked closely with The King's Fund for many years and recognise its positive influence on health policy and on service improvement. I'm pleased to be joining such a committed and effective team.'

Professor Chris Ham

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