A lord has become the new chairman of the health trust which runs the city’s hospitals.

Professor Lord Patel of Bradford, said his appointment by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has come at an “exciting but challenging time” for the NHS.

He succeeds David Richardson, who steps down on June 30 after serving three consecutive terms in office, which is the maximum allowed under the Foundation Trust’s constitution.

Lord Patel said: “I am very excited and honoured to be taking up the position of chair at the Trust.

Bradford is my home and I am committed to ensuring that Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust continues to improve and provides an excellent service for all the people of Bradford.”

Trust chief executive Bryan Millar said: “We are delighted to welcome Kamlesh to the Foundation Trust, his wealth of experience and insight will help us to successfully meet future challenges for the benefit of Bradford.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank David for his enormous commitment over the years and the legacy he will be leaving behind as the outgoing chair.”

Mr Richardson, who has been chairman for nine years, said: “My time at the Trust has been very rewarding. I have had the privilege of working with an outstanding group of people who work tremendously hard to ensure the people of Bradford receive high quality care and great clinical services.”

Lord Patel is a social worker by background and moved into academia establishing the Centre for Ethnicity and Health at the University of Central Lancashire and specialising in research connected to the reduction of health inequalities.

Alongside this work he has held a number of public appointments including chairman of the Mental Health Act Commission, National Strategic Director with the Department of Health (Race Equality and Mental Health), a non-executive director of a number of public bodies in the areas of substance misuse, mental health and social work, including the Care Quality Commission.

He entered the House of Lords in 2006 as an independent peer and was later appointed as a Minister in the Government’s Whips Office in the House of Lords. Lord Patel chaired the National Prison Drug Treatment Strategy Review Group which resulted in the publication of The Patel Report and subsequent policy changes in the delivery of prison drug treatment.

In addition to his duties as a member of the House of Lords, Lord Patel is senior advisor to the vice-chancellor of the University of East London, vice-president and professorial fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health and Institute of Healthcare Management, professorial fellow of the Institute of Mental health and patron of a number of charities based both in Bradford and nationally.