• Nigel Beverley appointed chair of East of England Ambulance Service Trust
  • He joins after four years as chair of Essex hospital trust
  • He must oversee restructuring of trust’s top team and address CQC concerns about ”lack of leadership”

System leaders have appointed a new interim chair for the troubled East of England Ambulance Service Trust.

NHS England and NHS Improvement has appointed Nigel Beverley, currently chair of the Basildon and Thurrock University Foundation Trust. He will take over from departing chair Sarah Boulton on 1 July, an announcement said today. 

Ms Boulton’s term was due to run until March 2022. But the trust has brought her five-year tenure to a premature end as part of a major overhaul of its top management team. Chief executive Robert Morton stepped down in September, followed by chief operating officer Kevin Brown earlier this year.

The trust now has interims in several key board level roles. In addition to the incoming interim chair, chief executive Dorothy Hosein, and COO Marcus Bailey are also on short-term contracts.

HSJ understands the trust is also awaiting the results of a recent inspection from the Care Quality Commission. Inspectors rated the trust “requires improvement” last July. But they returned swiftly after raising concerns about a “lack of leadership”, “low staff morale” and an “unsustainable” strategy in key areas.

The trust has struggled significantly against quality and performance standards for a number of years. The pressure however intensified last January when a senior whistleblower made accusations that significant ambulance delays had led to patient harm and deaths, and that the trust suffered from a lack of senior leadership.

Mr Beverley has been chair of Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust, which is being merged with mid and south Essex’s two other acute trusts, for just over four years.

NHSE&I East of England regional director Ann Radmore welcomed Mr Beverley’s appointment. “His steady hand will ensure that the trust continues to be well led while the process to recruit a permanent chair progresses,” she said in a statement.

The trust said: “Nigel has a long and successful career in health management, primarily in the NHS, having held several chief executive positions in hospitals in Essex and London. He also has experience in commissioner roles at a regional level and in healthcare business development.”

Mr Beverley said in a statement: “I am honoured to be appointed as interim chair for the East of England Ambulance Service. I look forward to working closely with CEO Dorothy Hosein, board colleagues, staff and the regulators to support ambulance staff and volunteers while the trust recruits a substantive chair.”