Experienced NHS leader, Caroline Donovan will join Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust as interim Chief Executive on 23rd October.

Press release from NSFT

Caroline is the former chief executive of Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust a mental health and learning disability provider. She has also been chief executive at North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, a provider of mental health, social care, learning disability and substance misuse services where the Trust was rated ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC under her leadership.

A nurse by background, Caroline is passionate about improvement and transformation and is committed to working with staff and patients to design and deliver high quality services.

During her tenure at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust she oversaw the acquisition of South Cumbria Mental Health and Learning Disability Services, the development of four mental health urgent assessment centres, the development of locality immediate response services, and a capital programme to increase the number of inpatient beds including the opening of a new rehabilitation hospital. Caroline spearheaded an inclusive and patient-centred approach, and oversaw improvements in quality across the Trust.

NSFT’s Chair, Zoë Billingham CBE said: “I am delighted to confirm Caroline’s appointment. She brings vast experience of quality improvement, transformation and leadership to our Trust which is critical as we continue to work towards consistently delivering safe, excellent care to all those who need us.”

Caroline said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to lead NSFT. I am committed to listening to, and working with, staff, service users, their carers and families, and partners as we continue to build on the improvements already underway across the Trust.

“Together, with Norfolk and Suffolk health and care partners we will join up and transform the specialist mental health and learning disability services local communities use and need. I look forward to taking up the post later this month.”

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive Officer, NHS Norfolk and Waveney and Ed Garratt, Chief Executive Officer, NHS Suffolk and North East Essex, said: “We are really pleased to have appointed Caroline into this hugely important role. Caroline particularly impressed the interview panel with her determination and commitment to co-production, ensuring staff at every level work extremely closely with people with lived experience, their families and carers to drive forward service improvement and transformation. 

“Caroline has a strong track record of working with staff at all levels to bring about cultural change, which is evident from her leadership at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust and prior to that, at North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust which was awarded a rating of Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission. A lot of important work has been done already over the last year at NSFT to improve staff wellbeing and culture and we know that Caroline’s qualities and significant experience will help drive this forward even further. 

“Across Norfolk and Waveney and Suffolk and North East Essex, our patients, their families and carers deserve safe and high quality mental health services. We look forward to working with Caroline and colleagues at NSFT in the year ahead to continue our important work to truly transform mental health services, delivering better outcomes for our residents, staff and communities.”