BOB Huntbach has been appointed as the new chairman of NHS East Lancashire.

Mr Huntbach has been a non-executive director for the Primary Care Trust since it was founded in 2006.

The former police officer rose to the position of detective superintendent during a 31-year career with Lancashire Police and Greater Manchester Police.

He was previously a non-executive director of Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale PCT, and a Rossendale borough councillor.

He said: “I take over from Kathy Reade, who will undoubtedly be a hard act to follow.

“I would like to thank her for her commitment to the NHS throughout her career.”

NHS East Lancashire commissions healthcare for the 382,000 residents of Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Ribble Valley and Rossendale.

Mr Huntbach will serve as its chairman until March 2013, overseeing the phasing out of the organisation during the overhaul of the NHS.

The post is remunerated at £36,779 per annum.

He said: “The NHS is going through a sustained period of reform and faces quite a challenging time.

“The patient should always come first and ensuring that, is my first priority.”