NHS chief to lead £3.7bn hospital building programme


Natalie Forrest has been appointed to lead the government’s £3.7bn plan to build 40 new hospitals by 2030, as part of the largest hospital-building programme in a generation

In total, the government is aiming to build 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 – which will be finalised by 2023 – aims to improve the quality of mental health and learning disability services in the regions by combining innovative design with a holistic approach to patient care and safety.

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


With over 12 years spent in NHS senior leadership roles, 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.

Natalie most recently led the construction and operationalisation of NHS Nightingale London in response to the pandemic.

Healthcare infrastructure to ‘build back better’

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 9 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.”

Natalie Forrest added: “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.”


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