WORKFORCE: A new chair has been appointed at East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust.

Nikki Cole has experience in a non-executive role having served as a council member of Brunel University London since 2008. She has also been chair of the university’s Audit Committee for the last four years.

She has worked as a director and at board level in several sectors.

Ms Cole has started in her new role with immediate effect.

Previous chair Nicholas Wells retired at the end of April.

The trust has several large projects underway. It is considering a possible major reconfiguration of its emergency services, from two sites to one. A public consultation will be launched in September.

It is also working on improvements to address problems highlighted by the Care Quality Commission last year when it was placed in special measures.

Ms Cole said: “I relish the opportunity to work with the trust board and staff to help the trust reach its potential as a high performing organisation with a strong and supportive culture. I will support the executive team in building on the excellent patient care already provided by the trust and in tackling the underlying challenges.

She added: “The nature of the NHS means we do need to improve efficiency and look for the most effective way to deliver our services. I am very much looking forward to becoming part of the team.”