• “Outstanding” rated trust’s chair to run Norfolk and Suffolk FT
  • Marie Gabriel will retain her role as chair of East London FT
  • NSFT is under immense pressure and rated “inadequate”

The chair of an “outstanding” rated trust has been appointed to run Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, which is in special measures.

Marie Gabriel will replace NSFT’s acting chair Tim Newcomb, although she will also continue her role as chair of “outstanding” rated East London FT.

The appointment follows the resignation and swift departure of chair Gary Page just ahead of a Care Quality Commission report in November, which said the trust was still rated “inadequate”. It prompted calls for the trust to be placed in the NHS failure regime.

Antek Lejk, chief executive of NSFT, said at the time that, while the trust was “obviously disappointed with the CQC’s findings, [it] fully accept their report and its recommendations”.

Ms Gabriel’s appointment represents an extension of ELFT’s role as NSFT’s “buddy” trust.

NHS Improvement appointed the London trust to the advisory role after NSFT was placed in special measures in 2017 for the second time.

Ms Gabriel has been ELFT’s chair since October 2012 and has more than 20 years of experience in senior roles within local government and the third sector.

An NSFT statement said: “The appointment is part of a broadened package of support, drawing on the experience and expertise from ELFT, to make sustainable quality improvements for patients, service users and their families.”

NHS Improvement chief operating officer Kathy McLean said: “As chair of ELFT, Marie leads one of the country’s top mental health trusts.

“Her expertise and leadership will be invaluable in her new role as NSFT works to make the sustainable changes needed to improve services for patients and service users.”

The statement added that NHSI “will continue to work closely with both trusts to ensure the enhanced support arrangement is working well”.