New CEO appointed


Deborah LeeDeborah Lee has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GHNHSFT), Chairman Professor Clair Chilvers has announced.

Deborah is currently the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UHBNHSFT). Originally a qualified nurse, Deborah started her NHS management career in 1990 and has worked in acute, primary and community sectors, holding board appointments in three different commissioning organisations before joining UHBNHSFT.

She will take over the post from Dr Frank Harsent who retires in April after eight years with the trust. Deborah will start on Monday, June 13, 2016.

The appointment follows a rigorous and competitive recruitment process.

Announcing the appointment, Professor Clair Chilvers said: “I am delighted that Deborah will be taking on this challenging leadership role at GHNHSFT.

“Deborah brings a combination of skills and experience in leadership, health care delivery, financial stewardship and quality improvement. Above all she has an abiding commitment to patient care.

“These proven capabilities will be crucial in leading the organisation through the next stage of its development and in bringing staff, our partners and the public with us on this journey.”

Following the appointment Deborah Lee said: “It is an absolute privilege to be appointed the CEO of GHNHSFT. There is no doubt this is an extremely challenging period for the NHS both locally and nationally. However, the provision of compassionate, high quality patient care has never been more important than it is today.

“I am looking forward to working with staff, our partners and our communities to ensure that we continue to deliver the very best possible care for the people of Gloucestershire and the surrounding counties.”

Mary Hutton, Accountable Officer at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We very much look forward to welcoming Deborah to Gloucestershire - she will clearly bring extensive NHS leadership experience and knowledge to the Trust.

“We are facing a very challenging period for the NHS and partners with growing demand and the challenge to deliver within available resources. We are particularly keen in the county to work together to place greater emphasis on prevention and early diagnosis, whilst also ensuring safe, timely and high quality services are there when needed.

“This can only be achieved through strong partnership working and we are confident that Deborah and Trust colleagues will contribute much to the shared goal of joined up care and support for the people of Gloucestershire.”  

Paul Jennings, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, said: “The opportunity that lies ahead for Deborah Lee is enormous, and I have no doubt that her broad range of skills and experience will help define and lead the next chapter in GHNHSFT’s strategic direction.

“As a health care community, it’s imperative that we continue to deliver a joined-up and coordinated service in Gloucestershire, and I look forward to working with Deborah in sharing our connected vision and ideas to drive this forward.

“Finding a successor who could follow Frank was undoubtedly a challenge for GHNHSFT. Frank has been a much appreciated and highly regarded asset, and his dedication is immeasurable. I wish him a very happy retirement.”

Shaun Clee, Chief Executive of 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Congratulations to Deborah on her appointment. We have always worked extremely closely with the Hospitals Trust and Dr Frank Harsent for the benefit of our local communities. We look forward to continuing and building upon that close alliance with Deborah and her colleagues in the months and years to come.”

Pete Bungard, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire County Council, said: "We are very pleased that such a good appointment has been made and look forward to building a new relationship between the council and the Hospital Trust."

Claire Feehily, Chair of HealthWatch Gloucestershire, said: “The Trust has involved a wide range of people and organisations in recruiting to this position and we were pleased to take part in this process and represent the patient’s perspective.

“We are really pleased to welcome Deborah Lee to Gloucestershire and would like to wish her well in her new role. We look forward to building a strong and effective relationship.”


Notes to editors

Deborah Lee biography

Deborah Lee is an experienced senior NHS manager. She qualified originally as a registered nurse, before returning to university to read economics and subsequently gained an MBA from Bristol Business School.

She started her NHS management career in 1990 and has worked in acute, primary and community sectors, holding board appointments in three different commissioning organisations before joining University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UHBNHSFT).

In 1996 she left the NHS and moved to industry where she held positions in policy development and health economics, before taking up her first board appointment in Wiltshire Health Authority with a renewed commitment to service in the NHS. From 2004 to 2005 Deborah was Joint Chief Executive of South Wiltshire Primary Care Trust prior to the creation of Wiltshire Primary Care Trust.

Deborah joined UHBNHSFT on secondment from NHS Bristol in May 2010 and was appointed to the substantive role of Director of Strategic Development in February 2011 and became Deputy Chief Executive in January 2013. In May 2015 Deborah became Chief Operating Officer (joint post – COO and Deputy CEO), responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the eight hospitals within the Trust whilst retaining the Deputy Chief Executive portfolio. In 2014, Deborah was nationally recognised by the Health Service Journal as one of the Top 50 Inspirational Women in Healthcare for her work mentoring young staff embarking upon careers in NHS management.

Dr Frank Harsent

Dr Frank Harsent announced his retirement from GHNHSFT in October 2015. He was appointed to the role of CEO at GHNHSFT in 2008. Previously he was CEO at Salisbury Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (from 2001), CEO of Cornwall Healthcare NHS Trust (1999) and CEO of North Tees Health NHS Trust (1995).