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A former leader of Islington Council has been named as the new chair of the Whittington Health, the NHS Trsut Development Authority has announced.

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Steve Hitchins, an ex-Liberal Democrat councillor who led the council between 2000 and 2006, is the former vice chair of Islington Primary Care Trust and chair of the Haringey and Islington Provider Community Services Board, the group which led to the formation of Whittington Health.

He was chosen to succeed Joe Liddane, who stepped down in August to support his ageing parents in Ireland.

Commenting on his new role, Steve Hitchins said: “I am very pleased to be joining Whittington Health.

“There are challenges ahead but I am excited about the prospect of working with the Board, all of Whittington’s staff and our many partners to address these.

“Now, more than ever, the patient comes first and I will carry that with me in this job.”

In preparation for London 2012, Mr Hitchins was also Board member of the London Development Agency, assembling the land for the Olympic sites.

He is currently on the Board of the Newlon Housing Trust, a charitable housing association.

Whittington Health chief executive Dr Yi Mien Koh said his “background and experience will be real assets to the Trust”.

“I am delighted to welcome Steve Hitchins to Whittington Health,” he said.

“I look forward to working with Steve to lead the organisation forward towards foundation trust status.”

The appointment was confirmed by the NHS Trust Development Authority (NHS TDA) who in April took over responsibility for the appointment of chairs and non-executive directors of NHS trusts and the trustees of NHS charities.

They have been given delegated powers from the Secretary of State for Health.

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