First Community appoints new chair of the board

Published on 22/01/2019

First Community has appointed experienced non-executive director Florence Barras as its new chair.  Ms Barras will replace current chairman Elaine Best, who is retiring. Miss Best has been chairman of First Community since its formation in 2011.


First Community is among England’s top performing health and care organisations having been rated Outstanding by CQC in 2017. First Community provides NHS community health and care services in east Surrey and parts of West Sussex.

Florence Barras has a background in banking alongside establishing and developing public private partnerships. Over the last 20 years she held positions as non-executive director and chair for a range of organisations, including in the healthcare sector. Florence holds a MBA from London’s Cass Business School. She will take up the appointment in April 2019.


As an employee-owned organisation, the appointment of the new chair was made by First Community’s 12-strong Council of Governors (CoG), who represent the organisation’s 450 employees, following a competitive open recruitment process. Joint lead CoG governors Carol Morris and Catherine Delve, who are both nurses, said: ‘We chose Ms Barras for her extensive experience and commitment to driving organisational performance improvement across  finance, operations and customer service – all of which are central to the on-going success of First Community.’


First Community CEO Sarah Billiald said, ‘In the context of the recently published NHS Long Term Plan, First Community already has fantastic collaborative working with partners in social, primary and acute care but there is more to do to ensure local people get the joined up care they need, in the right setting for them.  I am excited at the prospect of working alongside Florence, as our new Chair, to make the vision of locally integrated care a reality.’


 ‘I am very pleased to be joining First Community as Chair of the Board to build on First Community’s success and its excellent reputation. I look forward to work with colleagues, local and regional partners, patients and wider stakeholders to continue to innovate, to rejuvenate the wellbeing of the local community,’ added Florence Barras.


Outgoing chairman Elaine Best added: ‘While I am personally sad to leave First Community having led the organisation for eight years since its formation, I am delighted to be able to hand over my baton to Florence Barras in the confidence that she is taking over an exceptional organisation with many strengths provided by first rate clinicians and support colleagues. Ms Barras will be leading a strong and experienced board of executive and non-executive directors and I wish her well as she takes First Community to even greater things.’


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For more information contact: Jenny Rawlinson or Maddy Sciberras at  First Community, 01737 775 462


Notes for editors:

First Community is an award-winning organisation which is part of the NHS family delivering community healthcare services in east Surrey and the surrounding area. We offer a friendly face with highly rated, well-run services, delivered by our skilled people. We provide high-quality nursing and therapy services, children and family services as well as a rehabilitation ward and minor injury unit at Caterham Dene Hospital. First Community was rated overall Outstanding by CQC in 2017.

The NHS Long Term Plan can be accessed at:

Visit  for more information about First Community.

Follow First Community on Twitter @1stchatter