Lord Patel of Bradford OBE announced as new IHPN Chair

The Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) has today announced the appointment of Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford as its first ever non-executive chair.

Lord Patel replaces current chair and Spire Healthcare CEO, Justin Ash, who has served in this role since 2018.

As the only membership organisation representing independent healthcare providers across the UK, IHPN has played a key role in supporting the response to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes brokering the historic deal which saw the entire independent hospital sector make available its resources to the NHS to help respond to the virus. In his new role, Lord Patel will lead the Network as it continues to support its members in improving patients’ access to both NHS and private healthcare, including through the NHS’ forthcoming “Increasing Capacity Framework”.

In addition to his role with IHPN Lord Patel also Chairs Social Work England, the regulator for all child, family and adult social workers in England, where he has been Chair since 2018. Lord Patel is also President of the Royal Society for Public Health, a role he has held since 2014.

Initially qualifying as a social worker, Lord Patel has extensive experience working in the health and social care sectors, including as the architect of the Government’s largest mental health inequalities programme in 2005 – Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health Care – and the 2010 The Patel Review into drug treatment in prisons.

David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, said: 

“I am delighted that Lord Patel will be joining IHPN as our first ever non-executive chair. Kamlesh has a wealth of experience in the health and policy world and has played a significant role in improving healthcare services for communities all around the country.

“His appointment comes at an exciting time for the independent healthcare sector, with independent healthcare providers committed to supporting the NHS in the covid response, as well as ensuring private patients can continue to access the care they need. IHPN has been proud to support the sector through what has been an incredibly challenging time and Kamlesh’s insight and experience will be invaluable in the months and years ahead.

“I’d also like to thank Justin Ash for his outstanding leadership and guidance over the past few years, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, where IHPN members have stepped up like never before to keep patients safe. Justin has been instrumental in establishing IHPN as the single voice of the UK independent healthcare sector and his time in post coincides with a period of significant membership growth.”

Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford, said:

“I’m hugely honoured to have been appointed as the new chair of IHPN. This is a pivotal time for the health of the nation but especially for the independent healthcare sector as it continues to play a key role in the health service’s response to the pandemic, ensuring that both NHS and private patients can continue to access high quality healthcare as and when they need it.

“IHPN plays a vital role advocating for a sector which continues to deliver world class care to ever growing numbers of NHS and private patients, and I am looking forward to engaging with the network’s members across the whole of the UK and support them in improving the health of our nation.”

Justin Ash, outgoing Chair of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, said:

“On behalf of IHPN’s Strategic Council, I would like to warmly welcome Kamlesh as the new chair of the network. It has been an honour to Chair IHPN over more than two and a half years and for this period and for this to have been a period when our members could make such an important contribution is particularly pleasing.

“This is a critical time for all healthcare providers and Kamlesh’s excellent reputation, professional experience and focus on engaging with local communities and patients will be invaluable in ensuring independent healthcare providers can play their part in building a more sustainable health system in the months and years to come.”


A biography of Lord Patel can be found here