New chief operating officer for West Suffolk NHS foundation trust

West Suffolk NHS foundation trust is set to welcome back a former member of staff to its top team next month.

Nicola Cottington has previously worked at the Trust as associate director of operations – medicine, but from November 1 will return as chief operating officer.

Nicola is currently deputy chief operating officer at the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Norfolk, where she leads a broad range of services and works closely with system partners to ensure better patient flow through the hospital and improved discharges. She has also been central to the Paget’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nicola said: “I’m thrilled to be returning to West Suffolk and joining the Trust Board. I’m hugely excited about what lies ahead but understand the challenges we face and the responsibility of the role.

“There is much to do but I truly believe West Suffolk is a fantastic organisation, focused on providing the best care for our patients.

“I look forward to working with staff, patients and our community to improve our services. Supporting the Trust as we emerge from the pandemic and treating patients as quickly as possible will be a central focus of my role.”

A registered nurse, Nicola has worked in senior operational roles for 14 years. She champions equality and diversity, believing “it is everyone’s business” to promote and create an inclusive environment for all, where people can excel and achieve their full potential.

West Suffolk interim chief executive Craig Black said: “We are delighted to appoint Nicola Cottington as our chief operating officer. She is well known at the Trust and has a really positive track record in delivering compassionate leadership and change that benefits staff and patients alike.

“She will bring stability to the Board as we continue to navigate through the impact of the pandemic and I’ve no doubt will achieve success for the Trust and the local health and social care system.”

Nicola will replace Helen Beck, who is retiring from the Trust following eight years in post, first as deputy chief operating officer and chief operating officer from 2018. Helen and Nicola will have a month’s handover to support Nicola’s transition to the role.

Paying tribute to Helen, Craig added: “On behalf of the Trust Board I would like to thank Helen for her dedication, leadership and support over the years. She is committed to the organisation and has worked tirelessly for the benefit of our patients and staff. We wish Helen the very best for her retirement.”