Natalie Forrest appointed to lead plans to build 11 new hospitals in South West
The government’s commitment to build 40 new hospitals by 2030, including 11 in the South West, has been boosted by the appointment of Natalie Forrest to oversee the construction programme.
A registered nurse who has worked in the NHS for over 30 years, Ms Forrest led the construction and set-up of the NHS Nightingale Hospital in London in response to the pandemic.
She did this alongside her role as chief executive of Chase Farm Hospital in North London, where she successfully led operational and clinical teams to design an innovative and ground-breaking new hospital, delivered to time, on budget and without interrupting services.
Ms Forrest will oversee the construction of three hospitals in Devon, one in Cornwall, two in Somerset and five in Dorset, as part of a national package worth £3.7billion.
Devon will see a new integrated emergency care hospital at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, an acute ‘hot’ hospital and a new elective centre at Torbay Hospital in Torquay and a rebuild of North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple.
Cornwall will benefit from a new women’s and children’s hospital in the centre of the Royal Cornwall Hospital site at Treliske.
Somerset can look forward to a new cancer hospital at Royal United Hospital in Bath and a rebuild of Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.
Dorset will see a new community hospital, emergency department and intensive care unit at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester, new community hospital hubs in Bournemouth and Christchurch, a rebuild of Poole Community Hospital and a new mental health centre at St Ann’s Hospital in Poole.
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.
“The New Hospital Programme – as part of our Health Infrastructure Plan – will transform the delivery of NHS healthcare infrastructure to build back better and will ensure our country has world-class healthcare facilities right across the country for decades to come.”
Ms Forrest, who takes the title of 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.”
With over 12 years spent in NHS senior leadership roles, Ms 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.