Menu Picture of three small lines that users click on to reveal a list of links

More from news and media Picture of three small lines which when clicked on activate a menu with links to other pages

Trust chief executive gets top 50 rating within first year

Posted: 21 March 2023

Picture of Trust Chief Executive Matthew Coats

The new leader of West Herts Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has made it into the Health Service Journal’s ‘top 50 NHS chief executives’ within just eight months in post.

Matthew Coats, who took up his first NHS CEO position in July 2022, had previously held senior roles in the Department of Health, Home Office and Cabinet Office following 15 years’ experience in hospital management.

Since he joined last summer, West Herts Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has won praise for its virtual hospital, accelerated its robot-assisted surgery programme and pressed on with its redevelopment plans. The trust has also secured funding to deliver additional diagnostic services and planned surgery and is on target to break even at the end of this month.

Trust chairman Phil Townsend said: "Matthew was an exceptionally strong candidate from the start and has absolutely hit the ground running. As well as bringing new focus to our rebuild plans and shaping the way the local health system works, he is also determined to drive up performance and reduce waiting times for our patients."

He added: "Matthew balances his passion for innovation with his desire to create a fantastic culture for staff, where their wellbeing is front and centre.

"It's easy to say the right things on an application form but Matthew really is bringing his words about making a difference at his local hospital trust to life. I am delighted that his success so far and his obvious commitment have been recognised by the HSJ after such a short time in post."

HSJ’s editor Alastair McLellan, said: “Matthew’s inclusion in the top 50 after just eight months as a chief executive is highly unusual and a tribute to the example he has already set and the impact judges expect him to have on the trust’s performance."

Judges were asked to choose the top 50 based on the performance of the organisation run by the CEO, their contribution to the wider healthcare system, and the personal example they set to peers and employees. The focus was on their likely impact during the next 12 months, although past performance was taken into account.

The HSJ’s ranking of the NHS’s top 50 provider trust CEOs launched in 2014. It is judged every year by a panel of senior healthcare leaders. This year’s judges included Health Education England CEO Navina Evans, NHS Providers CEO Sir Julian Hartley, NHS England chief operating officer Sir David Sloman and Donna Ockenden, chair of the independent review into maternity services at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust.


  1. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: For out of hours media enquiries please call the Watford General Hospital switchboard on 01923 244366 and ask for the on call communications manager.
  2. West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 500,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  3. For more information about our hospitals, visit You can also join our followers on Twitter ( and find us on Facebook (