Skip to main content

This job has expired

Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Free Hospital

Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
North London
Closing date
10 May 2024
Phone number

Thank you for spending some time thinking about this brilliant opportunity to join the Royal Free London Group as our Hospital Chief Executive for the Royal Free Hospital. As part of our highly performing Executive team and Board you will bring inclusive, inspiring, and dynamic leadership to drive performance at the Royal Free Hospital and across the Group.


The Royal Free London is a special organisation with an incredible history. Founded nearly 200 years ago on the Royal Free Hospital site itself, it broke new ground and uniquely provided healthcare for anyone who needed it more than a century before the NHS was created. That pioneering purpose and groundbreaking innovation has always been at the heart of the organisation; training the first ever female medical students in the UK, leading the research and then development of treatments for HIV/AIDs, and more recently leading the development and clinical trials of the vaccines for COVID-19. We are a major teaching and research centre and one of the major partners of UCL university and deliver nationally and internationally renowned specialist clinical services alongside a wide range of local core services.

The Trust provides services from five main hospital sites across North London, the Royal Free Hospital, Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital, Finchley Memorial Hospital, and Edgware Hospital, plus delivering care across 70 other sites. We have developed expertise in infectious diseases, organ transplantation, cardiovascular care, cancer, and clinical innovation. One of the largest trusts in the UK, we are proud to have some of the best clinical outcomes in the country, serving much of London’s diverse population, and beyond.

Our vision is to deliver world class expertise and local care, routed in our core tripartite mission of clinical excellence, groundbreaking research, and excellence in education.

As our Hospital Chief Executive, you will be an essential part of our Group executive team and be responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of the Royal Free Hospital, ensuring we are delivering excellent patient care in line with our values. Your role will span shaping the strategy of this world-renowned tertiary hospital through to delivery and execution of effective operations, developments, and working across the site and with other health, social care, and partners. As part of the senior system leadership, you will work widely with partners and the ICB to shape, align and deliver our collective priorities. You will have a key leadership role and interface with UCL university representing the Royal Free Hospital and wider Trust in the ongoing development of our joint strategy. You will be a visible, inclusive, leader, with a track record of both impactful operational delivery and, crucially, of leading through relationships and influence within, and ideally beyond, a large, complex, acute healthcare provider. The Royal Free London has some of the most talented, passionate, and renowned clinical leaders in the NHS, and we believe passionately in clinical leadership.  The successful candidate in this role will need to be an experienced clinical leader, or, if not a clinician, be able to demonstrate how they have developed and created cultures of high achieving clinical leadership to deliver credible results.


A voting member of the Board, the CEO of the Royal Free Hospital, will contribute fully to the development of strategy and policy as well as the delivery of statutory and corporate responsibilities across the Royal Free Hospital site and the wider group. Responsible for leading the Royal Free Hospital, ensuring the delivery of both the group and local strategy, providing the highest quality clinical care, the CEO will support, through this work, the Royal Free Group’s governing objectives to achieve optimum patient care, outcomes and experience, and efficient use of resources.

The Hospital CEO will lead a strong site executive team, each of whom has a critical role in enabling transformation across the hospital and the wider group, including local executive HR and Finance colleagues, bringing together the whole group as a cohesive, motivated, high performing site leadership team. The successful candidate will develop and ensure the visibility of leadership, deploying strategic joined up thinking across the Royal Free Hospital to motivate staff and deliver excellent patient care efficiently and effectively.

As well as their leadership role within the hospital, the CEO will hold important leadership responsibilities for developing and managing external stakeholder relationships and promoting the hospital and wider group externally within the Integrated Care System (ICS), taking the leadership role with local authorities and Trust governors for the local Place strategy and delivery. Relationship management and collaborative working particularly includes University College London University and its significant campus on the Royal Free site.


Key Responsibilities of Job Holder

  • Lead the strategic and operational day to day activities of the Royal Free Hospital and its services (some of which are delivered across the wider Group and region), including fully managed networks and the hospital’s specialised (tertiary) services, ensuring they are run effectively and to budget;
  • Develop and mentor a cohesive site leadership team, who are visible across the Royal Free Hospital, driving a supportive and inclusive culture of accountability and improvement;
  • Take a Place based leadership role in developing and nurturing external stakeholder relationships with local healthcare and social care providers, local authorities and the ICS strengthening collaborative working to improve patient outcomes and experience;
  • Ensure the Royal Free Hospital Site complies with all quality, governance and statutory requirements;
  • Meaningfully contribute at Group Board to drive improvements and efficiency and deliver on the Group’s strategic objectives.


Main Duties & Responsibilities

Royal Free World Class Values

The post holder will offer World Class Care to service users, staff, colleagues, clients and patients alike so that everyone at the Royal Free can feel:

  • Welcome all of the time;
  • Confident because we are clearly communicating;
  • Respected and cared for;
  • Reassured that they are always in safe hands.

Site Leadership

  • Ensure all Royal Free Hospital and community services are delivered in a cost effective and efficient manner in line with Trust values and in support of the Group strategy, meeting agreed quality, operational, financial and workforce delivery plans;
  • Management of all site related teams, including site management, discharge teams and lounges, and emergency planning to maximise patient flow;
  • Regularly review quality & safety, governance & risk, operational performance and other statutory and mandatory key performance indicators, at site level, to ensure areas comply with all statutory requirements;
  • Develop and nurture strong partnership working with support services including Estates, Facilities, HR, Finance and IT to ensure the hospital and fully managed networks always function at their best;
  • Lead staff engagement programme for the Royal Free Hospital, driving consistent, clear, concise and regular staff communication that is engaging and motivating;
  • Represent Royal Free Hospital at assurance meetings and discussions and oversee corporate governance arrangements across the Hospital site ensuring assurance arrangements are robust and fit for purpose;
  • Contribute to the Trust’s register of key business risks, provide oversight to the development and implementation of a comprehensive business continuity system for the full range of Hospital activities, including: IT failure; flooding; pandemic flu and major internal incidents;
  • In conjunction with the Chief Delivery Officer provide regular reports to the Board, ensuring the level of control for business continuity is appropriately assessed, managed and monitored;

Team Leadership

  • Develop and lead a cohesive site-based leadership team through the a triumvirate structure (Nursing, Medical, Operations) and local executive HR and Finance colleagues, together developing clear work plans for assurance and improvement across the full range of services managed by the Royal Free Hospital;
  • Create and lead a positive engaging work environment which enables staff to flourish and be the best they can be to deliver good outcomes for patients;
  • Develop supporting groups, including clinical practice groups, and Trust wide representation at senior leadership meetings, and for day to day clinical and operational issues;
  • Ensure the Royal Free Hospital leadership team has a strong and positive presence within the hospital site and across community services and fully managed clinical networks;
  • Support and collectively lead all Royal Free Hospital improvement programmes.

Strategic Development of the Trust and Group Model

  • As lead executive for the site ensure the Royal Free Hospital and its services, including fully managed networks and the hospital’s specialised (tertiary) services, are run effectively and to budget;
  • Develop the clinical service strategy for the Royal Free Hospital, cementing the research and teaching agenda, and tertiary offer;
  • Enhance wider local health system stakeholder communication and engagement in the development of site based and out-of-hospital care strategy;
  • Work closely, representing the hospital and group, with UCL ensuring mutually beneficial development of research and education opportunities;
  • Contribute to Trust wide programmes of work, taking the lead on specific areas as requested by the Group Trust Board and contribute as lead of the Royal Free Hospital in the Group business planning cycle;
  • Seek, share and drive opportunities with the Trust which improve service delivery and performance to the highest level possible thus contributing to the overall success of the Group;
  • Maintain the highest levels of professionalism ensuring that the hospital and wider group are portrayed in a positive, collaborative manner;
  • Promote and support the work of the clinical practice groups (CPGs) including any relevant leadership role;
  • Challenge constructively the decisions of colleagues;
  • Participate on the relevant Trust on call rota(s).

Partnership Working and External Relationships

  • Lead the shaping and development of innovative models of integrated care with external multi-agency partners, maximising opportunities for innovation and providing seamless and high-quality patient care across services;
  • Develop strong working relationships with healthcare and social care providers local to the Royal Free Hospital, working closely with the ICS and place-based systems of care to strengthen collaborative working and improve patient outcomes and experience;
  • Build effective working relationships with critical partners across the delivery of major projects, for example across the Cancer Centre, and in the redevelopment of the St Pancras site;
  • Attend relevant local scrutiny board(s);
  • Identify opportunities to promote the work of the Group and collaborate with local stakeholders e.g. GPs;
  • Sensitively and proactively handle any concerns local stakeholders may have regarding the hospital/Trust;
  • Where there are PFIs, represent the hospital in contract management negotiations;
  • Establish effective relationships and assurance systems with key regulatory bodies, including for discharge responsibilities, to ensure full compliance with CQC registration requirements and promotion of the wider patient safety agenda, including with, for example, NHS England, the ICS, and the National Health Service Litigation Authority (NHSLA), within the context of the Group;

Operational and Clinical Performance

  • Challenge poor practice in all areas including clinical quality, patient experience and operational ineffectiveness, putting remedial actions in place to ensure and evidence improvement, demonstrating that quality and safety are of the utmost priority in the daily operation of the hospital;
  • Work with the Group to ensure all reporting is accurate and timely and information is issued regularly and properly to enable continued learning and improvement for patient outcomes;
  • Take opportunities to review performance and triangulate information produced through visits to operational areas, observing behaviours, and undertaking honest, supportive and open discussions with staff;
  • Review performance at hospital and business unit level to ensure consistent and good performance happens. Where there are performance gaps or failures, lead, support and direct business unit teams to undertake remedial action required in a timely manner;
  • Forge and cultivate highly effective relationships and strong partnership working with clinical practice groups.

Fit and proper person

As an executive director with significant control of resources and accountabilities the post-holder will be subject to the requirements of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 Section 5 and in particular Schedule 4 (i.e. that they are of good character and satisfy the ‘fit and proper person test’ to hold an NHS Director level appointment).

General Responsibilities

Infection Control

Infection control is everyone’s responsibility. All staff, both clinical and non-clinical, are required to adhere to the Trust’s Infection Prevention and Control policies and procedures and the Health Act (2006) Code of Practice for the prevention and control healthcare associated infections and make every effort to maintain high standards of infection control at all times thereby reducing the risk of Healthcare Associated infections.

It is the duty of every member of staff to take personal responsibility for the prevention and control of infection, as laid down in the Trust’s policies and procedures which reflect the statutory requirements of the Hygiene Code:

  • To work in close collaboration with the Infection Control Team;
  • To ensure that monitoring of clinical practice is undertaken at the agreed frequency;
  • To ensure that the ward environments are cleaned and maintained to the highest standards; ensuring that shortfalls are rectified, or escalate as necessary;
  • To ensure that all staff is released to attend infection control-related educational sessions and staff with specialist roles, e.g. link practitioners, are released to undertake their duties;
  • To ensure that all relevant monitoring data and issues are provided to the Directorate’s Governance structures
  • To ensure that all staff are released to attend infection control-related educational sessions and staff with specialist roles, e.g. link practitioners, are released to undertake their duties.

Health and Safety at Work

The post holder is required to:

  • Take reasonable care for the health and safety of him/her and other persons who may be affected by their actions or omissions at work;
  • Co-operate with the employer in ensuring that all statutory and other requirements are complied with.

Confidentiality & Data Protection

The post holder has a responsibility to comply with the Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and maintain confidentiality of staff, patients, and Trust business.

If you are required to process information, you should do so in a fair and lawful way, ensuring accuracy is maintained. You should hold information only for the specific registered purpose and not use or disclose it in any way incompatible with such a purpose.

You should disclose information only to authorised persons or organisations as instructed. Breaches of confidentiality in relation to information will result in disciplinary action, which may include dismissal. Employees are expected to comply with all Trust policies and procedures and to work in accordance with the Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulation 2018. For those posts where there is management or supervision of other staff it is the responsibility of that employee to ensure that their staff receive appropriate training (e.g. HISS induction, organising refresher sessions for staff when necessary).

Conflict of Interest

The Group is responsible for ensuring that the services for patients in its care meet the highest standards. Equally, it is responsible for ensuring that staff do not abuse their official position, to gain or benefit themselves, their family or friends.

Equality and Diversity

The Trust values equality and diversity in employment and in the services we provide. It is committed to promoting equality and diversity in employment and will keep under review our policies and procedures to ensure that the job-related needs of all staff working in the Trust are recognised. The Trust aims to ensure that all job applicants, employees or clients are treated fairly and valued equally regardless of sex, marital status, domestic circumstances, age, race, colour, disablement, ethnic or national origin, social background or employment status, sexual orientation, religion, beliefs, HIV status, gender reassignment, political affiliation or trade union membership. Selection for training and development and promotion will be based on the individual’s ability to meet the requirements for the job.

You are responsible for ensuring that the Trust’s policies, procedures, and obligation in respect of promoting equality and diversity are adhered to in relation to both staff and services.

This job description outlines the current main responsibilities of the post. However, the duties of the post may change and develop over time and may therefore be amended in consultation with the post holder.

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalised job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert