Former nurse Natalie Forrest has been appointed to oversee the £3.7bn construction of 40 new hospitals by 2030.
Forrest has worked in the NHS for over 30 years and is a registered nurse. With over 12 years spent in NHS senior leadership roles, she has extensive experience working with key clinical, board-level and other NHS stakeholders.
She most recently led the construction and operationalisation of NHS Nightingale London in response to the pandemic. Alongside this role, she was also Chase Farm Hospital’s chief executive in north London, where she successfully led operational and clinical teams to design an innovative and groundbreaking new hospital, delivered to time, on budget and without interrupting services.
Announcing the appointment, 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 at pace.”
Natalie Forrest, senior responsible officer of the new hospital programme, 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.”
Starting this month, Forrest 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.