New leadership for construction of 48 new hospitals
Natalie Forrest, until recently CEO of Chase Farm Hospital – where she successfully led operational and clinical teams to design a ‘ground-breaking new hospital’– has been appointed to lead the Government's plans to build 48 new hospitals by 2030.
The Department of Health and Social Care says she brings to the new role of senior responsible officer of the New Hospital Programme ‘a wealth of health, construction and project management experience’. She has worked in the NHS for over 30 years, and is a registered nurse, having most recently led the construction of NHS Nightingale London, and the process of getting the facility operational.
Under the New Hospital Programme, the DHSC says 48 hospitals will be built by 2030, with £3.7 billion committed so far. In north-east England, one of these schemes has just received final approval to upgrade mental health facilities in the region. Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust’s new £72.6 million facilities – to be finalised by 2023 – will, the Department says, improve the quality of mental health and learning disability services ‘by combining innovative design with a holistic approach to patient care and safety’.
Final approval has also been secured on Salford Royal’s £67.4 million new hospital building, with construction work to begin soon. This will be home to a major trauma centre treating patients who have experienced life-changing or life-threatening injuries – for example, after a serious road accident or fall.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “I’m delighted to appoint Natalie into this role. She not only brings unrivalled experience in health management and nursing, but also the construction and project management knowledge that helped turn the ExCeL conference centre into a Nightingale Hospital in just nine days, as well as overseeing the rebuild of Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield at pace.”
Natalie Forrest said: “I am determined to build trust in our national capability in planning and delivering hospitals, not just with health and construction stakeholders, but with the staff and patients who will benefit from them on a daily basis. My goal will be to deliver these new hospitals cost-effectively and at speed, and to foster an ecosystem that owns, learns from, and improves healthcare design." With over 12 years spent in NHS senior leadership roles, Natalie Forrest has extensive experience working with key clinical, board-level and other NHS stakeholders. Starting this month, she will oversee a delivery board across the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and Improvement, which will work closely with a network of NHS Trusts.
The DHSC added: “Overall, the New Hospital Programme within the government’s long-term health infrastructure plan will help develop new sustainability standards, planning capabilities, and care and workforce models. It will also implement cutting-edge digital technologies across the NHS, and support an integrated approach to building new healthcare infrastructure using modern methods of construction.”
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