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New NHS leader appointed for construction of 40 hospitals

6 January 2021
Natalie Forrest

The government has appointed Natalie Forrest as the leader of its plans to build 40 new hospitals by 2030.

Forrest, who served most recently as chief executive of Chase Farm Hospital, led the construction of the temporary coronavirus hospital NHS Nightingale London at London’s ExCeL centre. She has worked in the NHS for more than 30 years and is a registered nurse.

At Chase Farm hospital in north London, she led operational and clinical teams to design an innovative new hospital, delivered to time, on budget and without interrupting services.

The government plans to build a total of 48 hospitals by 2030, with £3.7bn committed so far. In the North East, 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 £72.6m facilities will be finalised by 2023.

Final approval has also been secured on Salford Royal’s £67.4m new hospital building, and construction work will begin soon.

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.”

Senior responsible officer of the New Hospital Programme Natalie Forrest said: “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.”

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