Skip to main content

Another CEO given national director role

Published on: 31 Mar 2023

Another chief executive of a local NHS organisation has been hired as a national director by NHS England.

Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust chief executive Roland Sinker has taken up a post as an unpaid national director for research and innovation to help NHSE “unlock the opportunities” offered by life sciences.

He is the second trust CEO – and the third CEO of a local NHS organisation – to take a national role with NHSE this year while remaining in charge of their own organisation. Mr Sinker has led CUH since November 2015.

An email sent by NHSE transformation director Tim Ferris to staff, seen by HSJ, said Mr Sinker will be “supporting and advising” NHSE’s executives on “how NHSE can best work with our partners in industry, academia and patient groups to unlock even greater opportunities in the life sciences space”.

As part of this, Mr Sinker will work alongside NHSE’s director of innovation Matt Whitty on priorities including “the recovery of research activity, contributing to the cross-government Life Sciences Vision, and improving the development and adoption of promising and proven innovations”.

Mr Sinker will also be “leading engagement with the NHS and other partners” on how to put NHS patients at the “front of the global queue for more effective and personalised tests, treatment and therapies” which would make England “among the best places to undertake clinical research, and thereby making a significant contribution to economic growth”.

Dr Ferris described him as having expertise from both CUH and the wider Cambridge life sciences ecosystem, and cited his national experience as being chair of the Shelford Group – a post he is leaving.

Mr Sinker is also a member of the government’s Life Sciences Council.

His appointment comes shortly after Sussex Integrated Care Board CEO Adam Doyle was revealed as national director for work on implementing the recommendations of the forthcoming Hewitt Review, and two months after Milton Keynes University Hospitals FT boss Joe Harrison was made national clinical director for digital channels

HSJ understands discussions are underway about confirming other central roles for trust chiefs.

Other CEOs currently holding national roles – although appointed earlier than this year – are:

  • Claire Murdoch (national director for mental health and CEO of Central and North West London FT);
  • Cally Palmer (national director for cancer and CEO of the Royal Marsden FT); and
  • Sir Jim Mackey (national director for elective recovery and CEO of Northumbria Healthcare FT).