Susan Acott will be leaving East Kent Hospitals as Chief Executive next spring

Susan Acott, chief executive of EKHUFT

Published on 8 September 2021

Susan Acott will be leaving East Kent Hospitals as Chief Executive next spring, four years after taking up the role, to pursue her interests in helping improve health and wellbeing in coastal communities.

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust is one of the largest acute hospital Trusts in the country and Susan was appointed as the Trust’s substantive CEO in April 2018. 

Susan said: “When I came to east Kent I came knowing the Trust faced a number of challenges, but I was impressed by the quality and calibre of our staff and a number of high-quality services we were able to provide. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work alongside the staff, our partners, governors and the Board and to have the opportunity to bring about a number of changes and improvements for our patients.

“I therefore feel this is the right time to step aside and for the Trust to find its next CEO who will take the organisation forward on the next stage of its improvement journey.”

The Chairman of East Kent Hospitals, Niall Dickson CBE, said: “Susan has done a remarkable job taking this organisation through the global pandemic which is undoubtably the most challenging period we have seen in the NHS.

“Her leadership skills, dedication, commitment, and resilience have made such a difference during this time and the whole Board is immensely grateful for all that she has achieved.  

“Under her leadership we have made progress in many areas. Before the pandemic hit, the Trust’s performance across the key national targets had improved significantly: with shorter waiting times for patients in A&E; faster treatment for cancer patients and no patients waiting over 52 weeks for treatment.

“We are now working incredibly hard to see those patients who were not able to be seen during the pandemic, but this will be greatly helped by our new orthopaedic centre which Susan did so much to bring about. She has also been key in attracting the investment for our new intensive care unit, which is currently being built, and the expansion of our two emergency departments.

“Susan has also led the change to a clinically-led organisation and under her leadership, we have embarked on an internationally recognised programme of quality improvement which will be a lasting legacy as we empower our staff and seek to create excellence across all our services.

“The search for Susan’s successor will begin immediately. We still face many challenges to ensure we can provide consistently high standards of care for all patients, but we believe that this organisation has huge potential, and we will be looking for a dynamic Chief Executive to work with the Board, our Governors, our staff and our partners to take us on the next stage of this journey and create the best possible health care services for the people of east Kent. “

Susan will continue with her role as a member of the NHS Staff College Advisory Council and is currently a Board member on the NHS Employers Policy Board. She will be expanding her interests in the areas of leadership, organisational development and healthcare for coastal populations. 

Susan was previously CEO at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust for eight years.  She started her career on the NHS General Management Training Scheme, having graduated from Birmingham University.  Before becoming chief executive at Dartford and Gravesham she worked in the NHS in Manchester, Merseyside, York and London.