• NNUH appoints Addenbrooke’s chief operating officer as its new CEO
  • Mr Higginson will replace Mark Davies in the autumn
  • Early challenges include getting out of special measures and overseeing major capital programme

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust has appointed a new chief executive following Mark Davies announcing he would stand down earlier this year.

Cambridge University Hospitals FT’s chief operating officer Sam Higginson will take up the role at the special measures trust in the autumn.

The appointment comes as part of a major shake-up of the trust’s leadership which also included David White replacing John Fry as chair in April.

Mr Higginson has been CUH’s chief operating officer since March 2017. He has also held several other senior roles at local and national level, including as NHS England’s director of strategic finance and a senior role at University College London Hospitals FT.

He joins the major trauma centre shortly after the Care Quality Commission’s latest inspection in May resulted in the trust being upgraded from inadequate to requires improvement but remaining in special measures.

Inspectors said ongoing concerns remained about the “culture, leadership and the management of patient flow through the emergency department and staff recognising and responding to patient risks”.

“The trust must continue to take definitive steps to improve the culture, openness and transparency throughout the organisation and reduce inconsistencies in culture and leadership,” the CQC said.

In addition to getting out of special measures and addressing the long-standing cultural and leadership issues, another major project in Mr Higginson’s in-tray will be the hospital’s biggest construction project since it was built 20 years ago.

The trust was one of 20 providers given the green light for capital projects as part of a controversial announcement about upgrading NHS hospitals by new prime minister Boris Johnson on Sunday.

The trust’s major capital plans involve building a new ward which will house approximately 100 beds; a £14m project to extend its acute medical unit and acute stroke unit; a new interventional radiology unit; and the creation of a new PET CT scanner building.

Mr Higginson has worked with UNICEF as a UN logistics officer co-ordinating the airlift of emergency supplies in Sudan as well as spending four years in the Treasury’s health team and as a management consultant.