WORKFORCE: Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust has promoted its chief nurse into the chief executive position.

Suzanne Rankin, who has been at the trust for four years, will take on the role from 1 September. She will replace Andrew Liles, who recently announced he will be leaving to work for a healthcare consultancy.

The chairman’s report to the trust’s June board meeting revealed that there was a shortlist of five candidates for the position, but two dropped out for “personal reasons”. The interview panel included chief executive of Western Sussex Hospitals Foundation Trust, Marianne Griffiths.

Trust chairman Aileen McLeish said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Suzanne as our new chief executive. As well as demonstrating exceptionally strong leadership during her time here as chief nurse, Suzanne is able to draw from a wealth of experience from other senior roles within both the NHS and the Royal Navy where she spent her early nursing career.

“We were lucky to have a strong field of candidates and I have no doubt that we have secured the right leadership to take the trust forward successfully. Suzanne’s appointment has been unanimously endorsed by both the board and our Council of Governors and I look forward to working with her as we continue to secure safe and high quality services on behalf of our patients.”

Ms Rankin intends to continue performing clinical duties on the hospital’s wards.

She said: “I feel privileged to have been appointed to lead Ashford and St Peter’s and am really looking forward to the challenge. I feel passionate about the trust and the great things our staff do for patients every day. As a nurse I intend to keep up to date with my clinical registration and will continue to undertake clinical duties on our wards. There is no doubt these are challenging times for the NHS but with the right approach there are opportunities to be secured to ensure we continue to develop the best possible services we can for our patients.”

Suzanne spent her early nursing career in the Royal Navy and in 2006 she became deputy to the defence nursing advisor.

In 2008, she left the Royal Navy and joined South Central Strategic Health Authority as deputy chief nurse before being appointed as chief nurse at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals in 2010.

Ashford and St Peter’s and the Royal Surrey County Hospital Foundation Trust recently announced a proposed merger and are currently putting together a full business case.