West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust appoints executive chief operating officer

Helen Beck has been appointed as the new executive chief operating officer at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT).

Helen was the Trust’s deputy chief operating officer for three years before stepping into the role of interim chief operating officer last year, following the departure of Jon Green who is now chief executive at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.

Helen was the operational lead for the successful implementation of the Trust’s electronic patient record system in 2016, allowing patients’ records to be digitalised. This key project led to NHS England identifying WSFT as a global digital exemplar; one of the country’s most digitally advanced NHS trusts. She has also been instrumental in the Trust’s efforts to reduce waiting times for elective treatment; national standards say that patients should wait no longer than 18 weeks from GP referral to treatment, 92% of the time. Under Helen’s leadership, WSFT achieved an indicative 92.07% against this standard in May.

A trained registered nurse, Helen previously spent a number of years in senior nursing and operational management roles at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Helen said: “I’m really happy to have been appointed into this important position within our fantastic Trust. Because of my previous experience, I already have a good working relationship with our proactive board members and operational teams who help to ensure the Trust runs efficiently and safely. I hope to continue the good work we have already started, and innovate and implement new ways of working as a whole to improve our patients’ experience.”

Trust chief executive Stephen Dunn said: “Helen has been helping to steer the Trust through extensive periods of high demand over the years and has a deep knowledge and understanding of how the Trust operates and the challenges we need to overcome.

“I’m thrilled that she has accepted this post and can continue the good work she has already begun.”

The chief operating officer is a member of the Trust board and contributes to the strategic leadership and direction of the Trust. Helen advises the chief executive and Trust board on the operational delivery of services, maintenance of national and local performance targets and standards, while retaining a clear focus on quality and safety.