The chief executive for local NHS organisations Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) and Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) has been named as the number one NHS chief executive in the country.

Angela Hillery, who has led NHFT since 2013 and LPT since 2019, was named top NHS chief executive in the annual rankings collated by the Health Service Journal (HSJ). Angela has placed in the top 50 every year since 2018, and has moved up to top spot for the first time this year.

The HSJ recognised Angela as a ‘pioneer’ for her work leading two Trusts since 2019, a trend which is being replicated in other parts of the country. Closer collaboration and partnership working was a key reason for the move up the ranking. During 2022, working with NHS Trusts across the East Midlands region Angela led NHS support for independent mental healthcare provider St Andrew’s, helping them on their quality improvement journey. NHFT and LPT are lead providers for regional CAMHS and adult eating disorder collaboratives, and a key part of the East Midlands Alliance for mental health and learning disabilities.

Angela also sits on the Midlands Strategic Transformation Recovery Board; part of the National Mental Health Restoration and Recovery Group; and is a member of the Department of Health and Social Care’s Psycho-social Group.

On receiving the news, Angela, said: “This is a great honour for both myself and the Trusts I am proud to lead. The recognition we have received through this ranking is testament to the brilliant teams at LPT and NHFT, who step up and make a positive difference every day.

“I truly believe as an NHS we need to continue to work in ever closer partnerships as we look to address the real challenges we have in the health system. I’m proud to continue to lead these organisations and to see the commitment our people have to collaborative working and continuous improvement.”

Angela has worked in the NHS for over 30 years, beginning her career as a speech and language therapist, before holding a variety of leadership positions. She is only the second woman to take the top HSJ CEO spot.

The HSJ top chief executives in the NHS was judged by some of the NHS’s leading figures. They are 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.