Our Board of Directors

The Role of our Board of Directors

The Role of the Board is to:
  • Provide leadership
  • Establish the vision, mission and values of the Trust and set strategy and structures
  • Shape the culture
  • Ensure accountability by holding the organisation to account for the achievement of strategy
  • Oversee the management of the Trust by
    • Determining monitoring criteria
    • Establishing effective internal controls
    • Regularly reviewing effectiveness

The Board comprises Executive and Non-Executive Directors

There is a general duty upon directors to promote the success of the Trust to maximise the benefits for members of the trust and the public.
All members of the Board have a collective responsibility for every decision of the board.
All directors have a collective responsibility to challenge constructively the information and proposals made to the board.
Non-executive directors have a particular duty to challenge executive directors and scrutinise their performance accordingly.
Executive directors are paid employees – responsible as executives for managing the organisation and as board members (directors) for leadership and direction of the Trust.
Non-executive directors are drawn from outside the organisation and bring to the Trust external expertise. They are paid for their time but are not employees of the Trust. They do not have a managerial role and are particularly responsible for challenging the executive directors in decision making and on the Trust’s strategy.

University Hospitals of Northamptonshire Boards of Directors meetings

The Board meets in public every two months and, from December 2023, is meeting together with the Board of Northampton General Hospital in order to demonstrate the trusts’ commitment to advancing collaboration. The dates, times and venues of the meetings will be published on this page, along with recordings from the meetings. The normal start time for meetings is 9.30am. The meeting on Friday 8 December will not be recorded; however, the meeting is open to the public, who are very welcome to attend – please email richard.may1@nhs.net if you wish to do so, or wish to ask a question before, or at, the meeting.
The Council of Governors  is a valued and effective body advising the trust on issues that are important to patients and the wider community. It works with the trust to ensure it provides the best possible service to its patients. The Council of Governors is not responsible for the day-to-day running of the trust but works with the board of directors to produce the trust’s future plans; it ensures that the voice of members and partners are used to inform the trust’s decisions. Its statutory responsibilities are described in the Trust’s constitution.
The Council of Governors also hold the non-executive directors individually and collectively to account.

Our Board of Directors

Executive Directors

Joint Chief Executive of UHN and UHL : Richard Mitchell

Joint Chief Executive of UHN and UHL: Richard Mitchell

Richard joined as joint Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Northamptonshire (UHN) and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) in October 2023.

He has been Chief Executive of UHL since 2021 and recently worked with the boards of both Kettering General Hospital (KGH) and Northampton General Hospital (NGH) as the Senior Responsible Officer for Collaboration.

He is the also the Chair of the East Midlands Cancer Alliance and Midlands Regional Talent and Leadership Board.

Richard is proud to work in his local hospitals and he and his family live in South Leicestershire. 

Chief Executive Officer: Deborah Needham

debbie needham picture
Deborah has over 30 years’ experience of working in the NHS, in Manchester, London and Northampton.
Deborah started her career in Greater Manchester where she trained and qualified as a Registered General Nurse, having experience in respiratory and acute assessment ward nursing, practice development and clinical site management. Deborah moved into General Management in 1999 and has been a Board Director since April 2014 taking the roles of Chief Operating Officer/Deputy CEO, Hospital CEO at Northampton General Hospital before commencing at KGH as the CEO in March 2021.
Debbie has a strong track record of delivery & her main strengths lie in building excellent teams & developing them to ensure delivery of exceptional patient care.
Deborah lives in Northamptonshire with her Partner.

Chief Operating Officer: Fay Gordon

Fay Gordon Chief Operating Officer Fay initially started her career in the NHS as a Registered General Nurse at KGH, before moving to the University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) where she undertook many nursing roles in acute and Elective surgery.  Later, Fay moved into General Management at UHL, where she managed large complex services across the Trust, gaining significant operational and strategic experience, before moving to NGH as the Divisional Manager for Medicine and Urgent care.  In April 2020 Fay joined KGH as Deputy Chief Operating Officer and became Chief Operating Officer in March 2021.
Fay is passionate about developing high performing teams in order to ensure the delivery of quality services for our patients and carers.

Medical Director: John Jameson

John joined KGH in February 2023 having been Deputy Medical Director at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust since 2015. He was appointed as a colorectal surgeon in 1996 initially at the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, before moving to the Leicester General Hospital in 2006. He did his surgical training on the Leicester rotation and completed this at St Mark’s. He qualified from Emmanuel College Cambridge and Westminster Medical School and has held various educational roles including Critical Care Tutor at the Royal College of Surgeons of England responsible for the continued development and governance of the Care of the Critically Ill Surgical Patient course run throughout the UK and overseas. John is passionate about high quality patient care and empowering our staff to deliver this.

Outside of work he is a keen road cyclist and skier.

Chief Nurse: Jayne Skippen

Jayne Skippen: Chief Nurse Jayne is an experienced nurse with over 30 years’ experience of working in the NHS, working in both acute and community care. Jayne is also an Emergency Nurse Practitioner, a Queen’s Nurse and has an MSc in emergency preparedness.
Jayne completed her training at Sir Gordan Roberts School of Nursing (which later became Nene University) and has worked in a variety of organisations including North Devon Healthcare, Milton Keynes University Trust, Bucks Healthcare and London. Jayne has held several Director of Nursing and Therapy positions in different organisation and was also Director of the vaccination and immunisation programme across Northwest London.
Jayne joined KGH as Director of Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs in January 2023 and has strong leadership experience in a variety of settings and has a passion to support staff development and create staff opportunity.

Director of Corporate and Legal Affairs: Richard Apps

Director of Governance Richard Apps

Richard has worked in health and care for over 25 years, joining the Kettering Board in 2018 and Northampton in 2022, during the formation of the University Hospitals of Northamptonshire (UHN) NHS Group.
Richard has previously worked in adult learning disability services in Northamptonshire before joining the NHS in Leicestershire in 2005. Richard also worked nationally and regionally with NHS Improvement where he focussed on quality and performance improvement across a range of NHS Trusts. Richard has also held honorary academic teaching posts at local universities.

Group Chief Digital Information Officer: Natasha Chare

Natasha ChareNatasha is our Group Chief Digital Information Officer and brings with her a strong track record of leading engaged teams to deliver strategic change for the benefit of patients and staff.

Natasha’s focus is to ensure our digital team responds to the needs of our organisation knowing that digital is a key enabler in supporting our colleagues to have the tools and information they need to do their job most effectively. Natasha’s emphasis is on digital working with wider teams to bring about digital progress across our hospital including supporting clinicians to have access to full, accurate and timely patient information and giving patients the ability to increasingly be in control of their care.
Natasha’s background is in change management and transformation – before joining the digital team in 2020, Natasha was in Kettering’s transformation team. Prior to this Natasha was a management consultant working alongside public sector teams to improve operational practices and processes including becoming the digital lead for the company. Natasha has also worked in numerous continuous improvement and commercial roles in the logistics sector. More recently, Natasha has received a post graduate diploma in Digital Health Leadership.

Group Director of Strategic Estates and Strategy: Polly Grimmett

Polly Grimmett Director of Strategy Polly joined the Trust in 2017, and has responsibility for leading the Strategic Development of the Trust. This includes being the executive lead for the redesign and rebuild of the site, including leading the work to rebuild a new Urgent Care facility for the hospital.  The role also includes developing the Trust’s relationships with other partners, to ensure patients in North Northamptonshire receive an integrated approach to all there care needs and remain as well as possible.
Polly spent much of her career in operational management roles in different acute providers, and also worked in commissioning and community services. Most recently she was part of the merger team at North West Anglia and led the redevelopment of the Stamford hospital site.

Interim Group Communications Director: Sam Holden

Image of Sam Holden Group Head of CommunicationsSam joined the Trust in October 2023 and has responsibility for corporate communications and engagement. He began his career as a journalist for international news agency Thomson Reuters before joining the NHS, where he has worked across several communications roles at mental health, community and acute trusts. He was the Assistant Director of Communications and Engagement at Milton Keynes University Hospital, leading the organisation’s communications response throughout the pandemic. Most recently, Sam was an Associate Director for communications and public affairs consultancy Lexington where he led a number of accounts for both national and international clients from the life sciences, MedTech and public sectors. 
He is passionate about the strategic value communications and engagement teams can add across organisations and the impact that can have on improving patient experience, staff engagement and organisational transparency. 

Group Chief People Officer: Paula Kirkpatrick

Director of HR and OF Paula Kirkpatrick Paula joined the Trust in 2019 after a career in HR spanning both public and private sectors, latterly including 15 years in policing where she was half of a job share partnership working in a number of senior roles.  Whilst working for Cambridgeshire Constabulary Paula was part of the HR leadership team that developed a collaborated HR service across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police forces.  Initially joining KGH as Deputy Director HR and OD in September 2019, Paula was appointed as Director HR and OD in June 2020 and Acting Chief People Officer in July 2022.
Paula’s areas of interest include health and wellbeing and equality, diversity and inclusion.  She believes leadership is about supporting teams and individuals to be the best they can be: by ensuring people are healthy and well in the broadest sense; are able to be themselves in the workplace, bringing all their skills and expertise to their role; and are supported and developed to reach their potential.
On 1st September 2022 Paula was appointed as Group Chief People Officer.

Group Director of Transformation and Quality Improvement: Rebecca Taylor

Group Executive Director of Transformation and Quality Improvement: Rebecca Taylor Becky joined Kettering and Northampton Hospitals in October 2021, and has responsibility for leading the Transformation and Quality Improvement agenda across University Hospitals of Northamptonshire. This includes being the executive lead for large-scale transformation programmes across KGH and NGH, supporting and enabling a culture of quality improvement, and the monitoring and tracking of programmes and projects.
Becky spent much of her career in management consultancy supporting different acute providers, community providers, local authorities and NHS national bodies to develop strategies and transform services.  She is a Health Foundation Q Community Fellow and is passionate about supporting staff to make things work better for both our patients and our staff.

Group Chief Finance Officer: Richard Wheeler

Richard Wheeler Interim UHN Chief Finance Officer Richard joins KGH from Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) where he has been the Executive Director of Finance since 2016. As a Chartered Accountant, Richard has many years of NHS experience in a range of sectors including Strategic Health Authority, Oxford University Hospitals and East Midlands Ambulance Service. Richard holds a Maths degree and in 2012, was awarded Healthcare Finance Managers Association, Deputy Finance Director of the Year.

Non-Executive Directors

Chair: John MacDonald

Our Chair, John MacDonald John joined UHN on 1st July 2023 as Chair, alongside this role he will retain his role as Chair of University Hospitals of Leicestershire, a role he has held since April 2021.

John has been a Chair in various NHS and Foundation Trust organisations for a number of years bringing a wealth of experience. This includes the role of Chair in an Integrated Care Board (ICB) setting, where John has linked with system partners to address challenges. John is looking forward to working more closely with our system partners, to bring us together to create a better service for the patients of Northamptonshire.
Prior to joining the NHS, John worked overseas in Africa and the Indian sub-continent as an agricultural and rural development economist on projects for the British Government, the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
John’s roles within the NHS include:
Chair – Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Chair – North Midlands Hospitals NHS Trust
CEO – Derbyshire Royal Infirmary NHS Trust
CEO – Queens Medical Centre
CEO – John Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust
Chair – Derby and Derbyshire Integrated Care Board

Natalie Armstrong

Natalie Armstrong

Natalie is the University of Leicester nominated Non-Executive Director on the Board. She is currently Deputy Head of the College of Life Sciences at the University, a role she undertakes alongside her own academic work. Natalie’s academic background is as a social scientist and her research uses social science theory and methods to support the delivery of high quality, safe healthcare. Her interdisciplinary health services research typically involves mixed-methods collaborations with clinical and non-clinical colleagues across and outside the University. 
Natalie was brought up in Northamptonshire, having been born at Kettering General Hospital. The vast majority of her family still lives in the area served by the hospital, and so she is a frequent visitor back to the local area. 

Alice Cooper

Image of Alice Cooper, non-executive director.

After studying Psychology, Alice started her professional career at KPMG, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant and later joining the specialist Financial Services Audit team.  She later moved to working directly for a large Building Society Group, holding a variety of senior roles in the areas of Risk, Information, Strategy and Planning.  Having always enjoyed the people development side of her work, more recently, Alice trained as an Executive and Career Coach, and now combines this freelance role with her other responsibilities, including her non-executive director role.

Alice was born in Kettering and has lived in the area for much of her life.  Outside of work and looking after a young family, she is a keen singer, and is also active in children and families work in her local church.

Deborah Manger

Deborah Manger - Non Executive Director Deborah Manger has lived and worked in Northamptonshire  for over 30 years. Her roles have included Specialist in Special Care Dentistry and Deputy Medical Director in NHFT and more recently Deputy Dental Dean for the Midlands and East of England. In these leadership roles, she has led many quality improvements across healthcare. She has worked across primary and secondary settings in delivering the care, leading theatre teams at KGH and NGH and delivering complex care in Corby and Wellingborough.
She has significant board level experience regionally as a member of the East Midlands Clinical Senate, as chair of regional Managed Clinical Networks and as a Local Dental Network chair. This has enabled her to have direct involvement in the review of complex services, specifically in community care and urgent care, within the region.
Deborah believes that her broad experience of health and social care will enable her to support Kettering General Hospital.

Jill Houghton

Jill Houghton NED Jill has been a non-executive director of Northampton General Hospital since May 2018 and was appointed to the Kettering Board in December 2023 as part of work to further collaboration between the hospitals.  She is currently a registered nurse and has worked as a midwife and health visitor. Jill has had experience in all sectors of healthcare, clinically and managerially within primary and secondary care.  As a Northampton board member she has been responsible for patient services, quality, medicines optimisation and children, young people and maternity commissioning. Jill was previously Chief Nurse for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG and is now a Maternity Clinical Lead within the national Maternal and Neonatal Health Safety Collaborative. 

Trevor Shipman

Interim Chair: Trevor Shipman Trevor has extensive experience in the NHS and was Finance Director of Central and Northwest London NHS Foundation Trust.

He is a member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants and brings a wealth of experience in audit and finance to the Board.

Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore Non-Executive Director
Andrew’s commercial background is in retail where he held a variety of senior positions including Directorships at Marks & Spencer, Chief Merchandising Officer at Asda-Walmart and Chief Commercial Officer at Wilko. He has also worked in South Africa where he started his own Retail Consultancy and partnered with Woolworths SA. He retains a close connection with the retail sector through his advisory work with corporate investor institutions.
In 2019 he joined the board of Breast Cancer Now charity as a Trustee where he is now Vice Chair. He is committed to helping the charity navigate the many challenges faced by the Not-For-Profit sector and contributing to its strategic development and operational efficiency; he also chairs the Finance & Investment Committee and sits on the Risk & Governance Committee. Andrew believes his business experience in focusing on quality, value and service can help support the KGH team in the next chapter of the hospital’s development. 

Damien Venkatasamy

Non-Executive Director Damien Venkatasamy Damien has 23 years experience in the IT service industry.

He has lots of experience in delivering services to public sector organisations and wants to use this opportunity to work in the public sector and share his experience of delivering complex and challenging change projects.

Christopher Welsh

NED - Christopher Welsh

Chris has been a NED at Kettering General Hospital since 2017, and was appointed to a NED role at NGH, the Trust’s partner in the UHN Group, in December 2023.
Chris has held a number of senior and board posts in the NHS, including vascular surgeon and then Medical Director of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He is the Chair of the Yorkshire and the Humber Clinical Senate which provides impartial and independent advice to healthcare organisations. His key interests include patient safety, the quality of services and clinical collaboration and education.

Associate Non-Executive Director

Ballu Patel

Ballu Patel Associate NED Ballu possesses extensive experience and skills in strategic management, governance, and community regeneration. Derived from voluntary roles, including serving as a Non-Executive Director (NED) at the University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL), Associate NED at East Midland Ambulance Service (EMAS) and Chair of Leicestershire and Rutland Cricket Foundation. Director of Leicestershire County Cricket Club. Additionally, Ballu chaired the Bede Island Community Association (BICA) for five years, an umbrella community organization that, in collaboration with private and public sector entities, secured over £200 million for the regeneration of Leicester's West End.
During his national employment at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Ballu gained valuable insights and experience in supporting individuals with disabilities, including those from diverse ethnic communities and various socio-economic backgrounds.
Ballu has severed on various committees including on the Policy Action Team with the Cabinet Office, Social Inclusion Unit.