scanners costing around £3 m, and the Woolverstone Cancer Centre, at a total cost of £4.7 m, oversaw the acquisition of the redundant Bridge School for the strategic development of the Ipswich Hospital site, wrote and implemented a Board-approved Estates Strategy and Sustainable Development Management Plan, procured a new Hotel Services contract for soft FM services valued at around £55 m over five years, with annual savings of over £450,000, and enhanced services delivery, and led the Estates and Facilities Directorate through a ‘period of intense change’, with the merger of the Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals, and the acquisition of Suffolk Community Health Services.

Coming full circle

He says: “In fact, I have come full circle in returning to Ipswich Hospital professionally. I recall that in about 1995, while with Eastern Contracting, we were working at the site – installing CCTV cameras, working on the HV and LV electricity network, and rewiring. I remember feeling that if there was one place I would like to work in future, that would be here, in charge of all of this electrical and mechanical estate. For me, it was a dream job to come back. “In 2018,” he continued, “we merged with Colchester Hospital. Nick Hulme took over as Chief Executive, and we merged the two trusts to form the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust. I was appointed as Director of Estates and Facilities for the Trust.” In the role, Paul Fenton has overall board responsibility for Estates and Facilities services, EBME services, and the Capital Development Programme and Emergency Preparedness Response and Resilience across both Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals, and associated community hospital buildings across the region. He is also responsible for the delivery of the Trust’s £70 m Sustainability and Transformation Partnership capital development bid to construct new Urgent Treatment Centres and Emergency Departments at both acute hospitals, alongside an Orthopaedic Elective Care Centre at Colchester Hospital.

In addition, over the past 11 months, he has been assisting the National NHSE/ NHSI Estates and Facilities team, under the direction of Simon Corben, giving regional support in the estates and facilities arena in respect of COVID surge planning. He said: “I applaud the work that Simon and his team have undertaken throughout this pandemic. It has been awe-inspiring to be, in some part, involved in the response to COVID. Simon, and every part of his team, have worked incredibly hard to deliver the Nightingales, and to address the challenges that this

18 Health Estate Journal February 2021

3D visuals of a new Interventional Radiology Cardiology Angiography Suite in Colchester under construction and due for completion this December.

pandemic has thrown at the estates and facilities profession. It has been an honour to work beside them.”

A far-reaching remit

Paul Fenton clearly has a pretty wide- ranging professional remit, and I suggested that the period since the start of the pandemic must have been both especially busy, and, at times, immensely challenging. He said: “It has; we have been exceptionally busy, and I’m incredibly proud of the work that my team has undertaken in the past 12 months. In all, we have about 600 Estates and Facilities staff over both acute hospital sites, plus personnel out at community sites in East Suffolk. Our budget is around £55 m, with a capital programme of £40 m. We are the east of England’s biggest employer; in all ESNEFT employs around 10,500 staff. Key for me over the past year is that my Estates and Facilities team, and indeed the estates and facilities profession as a whole have stood side by side with the frontline clinicians, sharing all the same worry and anxiety our doctors and nurses will have about contracting COVID and taking it home. They deserve real recognition for their hard work, commitment, and courage.” Paul Fenton was delighted and honoured, ‘if surprised’, to be awarded an MBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List, ‘for services to the NHS’. He said: “For me, that is recognition for the profession I represent. I heard about the MBE in early December by letter from the Cabinet Office, and thus had to keep it a secret for some weeks. I was pretty surprised; one’s natural question is ‘Why me?’ You are nominated for the honour, but I have no idea who nominated me. All I know is that it was somebody within the national EFM network. Hopefully I will be able to go and

receive the medal at Buckingham Palace before too long.”

Broadening the membership As our discussion neared its end, Paul Fenton reiterated that he was particularly keen, as IHEEM’s new President, to continue Pete Sellars’ work around IHEEM's ‘Five Key Themes’. I asked whether his ambition for IHEEM to focus more on the ‘EM’ part of IHEEM might potentially mean broadening the membership, given that the Institute is probably best known for its ‘hard engineering’ expertise. He said: “Potentially yes. I’d really like to emphasise my determination that the already close working relationship between IHEEM and HEFMA be strengthened in developing that EFM piece. I am also keen for the two to work more closely on initiatives around apprenticeship training, and succession planning and career development, since we really need to pass on some of the valuable skills and experience of older members of the profession to new entrants – a key legacy, before many of the former retire. I’d like to thank Ian Hinitt for all he has done for IHEEM in the past two years as President, and hope I can make my own strong and enthusiastic contribution in the role over the next two years as a worthy successor.”

Away from work, Paul Fenton is married, with three children and seven grandchildren, and says the support of his wife, Nicola, and family, has been ‘the cornerstone of my ability to develop my career and achieve as much I have’. He added: “I couldn’t have done this without my wife – not least because the severity of my acute illness means I simply would not be here if it wasn’t for everything she did for me during that very difficult time.”

Proposed 3D internal view Existing site

Proposed 3D visual

Proposed plan


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68