The confederation has been searching for a new chief executive since last May when Gill Morgan left to become permanent secretary to the Welsh Assembly.
The appointment comes after a recruiting round last September failed to find a suitable candidate. The confederation ran another round of interviews earlier this week.
NHS Confederation chairman Bryan Stoten said confederation trustees, along with NHS South West chief executive Sir Ian Carruthers, had interviewed ‘a number of highly experienced candidates’.
‘We’re delighted to have appointed Steve Barnett to the role. We were delighted to have had such strong interest in the role and a very strong shortlist,’ he said. ‘We agreed Steve has all the qualities and skills that such a complex and high profile job demands.’
RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: ‘The RCN has enjoyed a productive working relationship with both Steve and the NHS Confederation in the past, and looks forward to working together in the future.
‘We hope that the new appointment will strengthen our relationship with the NHS Confederation and will offer even more joint opportunities to positively influence and improve health and patient care throughout the UK,’ he added.
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