A senior NHS England figure has been appointed as a non-executive director at a struggling acute trust.
In a highly unusual move, Simon Corben, who currently serves as NHSE’s director of estates and facilities, will join East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust from 1 October.
The trust confirmed he would continue in his national role while acting as the “non-executive in common” between its board and the board of its wholly owned subsidiary, 2gether Support Solutions.
HSJ understands Mr Corben applied for the role through an open competitive process.
Mr Corben joined NHSE in April 2017 after spending 16 years in the private sector, where his previous roles included advising the NHS and independent providers on major capital infrastructure projects.
His work in the public sector has included the health infrastructure programme, announced by then prime minister Boris Johnson in September 2019, and delivering the NHS’s seven Nightingale hospitals during its response to the pandemic.
EKHUFT, which oversees five hospitals across Kent, has a significant estate maintenance backlog and has faced challenges in meeting demands because of its ageing infrastructure.
The trust has a £460m plan to increase capacity across three of its sites and expand the services it provides.
Mr Corben said: “I am looking forward to bringing fresh ideas and supporting the trust to drive improvements in the quality and efficiency of its estates and facilities management, which has such an important role in the experience and outcomes of patients.
“I share the trust’s commitment to people who use its services and the local communities we serve in east Kent.”
EKHUFT chair Niall Dickson said Mr Corben’s experience would be “invaluable as we take forward our drive to take this trust to ‘good’ and then ‘outstanding’”.
He added: “We have many challenges, not least in terms of our estates and facilities, and Simon’s extensive knowledge and expertise will be a huge asset in this area and in others.
“He joins a strong team of non-executive directors determined to work with senior leaders across the organisation and in the wider system to transform the care we provide.”