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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS

Home > About us > Key people > Directors' profiles

Directors' profiles

The Board of Directors is made up of the Chair and Non-Executive Directors; the Chief Executive and Executive Directors. Further details of all of the members of the Board of Directors are given below.

Non-Executive Directors

Professor Robin Talbot
Robin has spent over 26 years working in Higher Education and the NHS across Cumbria and Lancashire.

Robin has spent over 26 years working in Higher Education and the NHS across Cumbria and Lancashire. Robin’s previous NHS roles include chairing the Doncaster Family Practitioner Committee, the Lancaster and Morecambe Community Health Council, the Lancaster Primary Care Group and the Cumbria and Lancashire Workforce Development Confederation. Until 2004 Robin chaired the Morecambe Bay Primary Care Trust and since has had roles within the NHS including; Governing Body positions at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; and more recently from 2009-16 at Calderstones Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust. In addition, Robin has maintained his special interest in workforce development by Board positions until summer 2017 on the Lancashire and South Cumbria Workforce Action Board and Health Education England (North).

At St Martin’s College and the University of Cumbria Robin was Executive Dean with a particular focus on Health, Social Care and Wellbeing. 

Outside the NHS and Higher Education, Robin is a member of the Lakes College Board at Lillyhall, the Progress Housing Group Board (social housing organisation specialising in rented accommodation for clients with a learning disability), and an Independent Monitoring Board for HM Prisons. He chairs the Health and Education Co-operative (a social enterprise hosting/producing online learning materials for universities and the Health Service).

George Liston
Non-Executive Director
george liston
George served in the Royal Air Force for over 30 years and travelled all over the world as an engineer officer.
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 Malcolm Cook
Non-Executive Director
malcolm-cook new
Malcolm has previous experience as a senior manager in the telecommunications industry and has been an influential vice chairman of the NHS.
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Dr David Kennedy
Non-Executive Director
Dr David Kennedy, MBBS Degree Programme Director & Deputy Head of School of Medical Education, Newcastle University.
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Louise Nelson
Non-Executive Director
Louise Nelson
Dr Louise Nelson trained as a mental health nurse 33 years ago and over the past 13 years has worked in higher education.
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Jeff O’Neill
Non-Executive Director
Mr O’Neill, a chartered accountant, was formerly the Global director of finance of North Group .
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ore here


Executive Directors

Stephen Eames
Chief Executive

Stephen Eames 1 

Appointed: September 2017 Experience: Public service leader with 25 years' experience as a Chief Executive.
In 2012, Stephen was drafted in to Mid Yorkshire Hospitals where he spent 3 years overseeing major changes and improvements to services.

Before this, Stephen was CEO of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust where he successfully led a substantial multi-site hospital reconfiguration, secured a major acquisition of community services and ensured sound clinical and financial performance.

In 2007 Stephen was awarded public service turnaround leader of the year by the Society of Turnaround professionals.

In 2013 Stephen was awarded 'Turnaround performance of the year' by the Management Consultants Association for his work in Mid Yorkshire.

Stephen has a wealth of experience in top level leadership activities and in partnership working with NHS Institutions, Local Authorities, the private sector and a variety of other agencies.

Stephen has worked in a coaching capacity as a consultant for the NHS Performance Support Unit and the Leaders UK programme sponsored by the National School of Government.

Professional Qualifications: Advanced Diploma in Senior Executive Coaching for the Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring.
Degree in Professional Coaching Practice from Middlesex University.

Professor John Howarth
Deputy Chief Executive

John's post covers Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust.

John was a GP in Cockermouth for 24 years. He was Clinical Director for community services and elderly care lead for NHS Cumbria. Prior to this he spent 7 years as medical director of Cumbria's GP out of hours cooperative, chaired the primary care research group and was a GP trainer for over 10 years. He was medical adviser to the local hospice at home charity and co-authored a textbook in Palliative Care.

During the 1990s he trained in tropical medicine and worked in 11 different wars and natural disasters. He became medical director and head of operations of an international disaster relief charity. In 2010 he was a runner up in the national NHS Leadership Awards from over 1000 entries. In 2011 he received a Fellowship in Public Health through distinction and in 2013 he received a Fellowship to the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Alison Smith
Executive chief nurse
Alison has been a registered nurse for 34 years and has worked in a variety of clinical, managerial and educational roles.

Alison worked at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for a signficant part of her career including as assistant director of nursing and children’s lead.

After leaving South Tees, Alison then spent the next five years working in wider health system roles as deputy director of nursing & quality at NHS England for the North East & Cumbria then as senior clinical lead at NHS Improvement, taking the lead role for the quality agenda.

In both of her roles with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Alison has worked closely with colleauges in the NHS in Cumbria.

Mandy Nagra
Executive chief operating officer
Mandy was previously the delivery & improvement lead for NHS Improvement (NHSI) in Cumbria and the North East. She has been instrumental in improving patient flow across the system and embedding the first phase of integrated care communities. 

Prior to joining the Trust Mandy worked in the health and social care system for 24 years in a range of roles including clinical and managerial experience both nationally and regionally.   She brings a vast amount of experience from her work with NHS Improvement and NHS England where a key part of her role was to support north Cumbria. 

Michael Smillie
Director of Finance, digital, estates and support services
Michael Smillie 
Michael's role covers North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Michael joined the Trust in January 2007 and has over 23 years experience working in the NHS. He has held posts as the Director of Finance, Director of Commissioning and Director of Business Development in both commissioning and provider organisations. 

Michael lives in Cumbria and leads on financial stewardship and forward planning for the Trust and is working with our partners to improve the health and care system overall. Michael also leads on ensuring the Trust’s estate, facilities and information management and technology are all fit for purpose and developed to support clinical care effectively.  




Judith Toland
Executive Director of Workforce & OD
Judith Toland  
Judith joined in November 2018 and her post covers North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the wider North Cumbria Health and Care system.

She has extensive experience in human resources, organisational development and transformation, including digital programmes in a number of sectors including government, health, education and private sector.  Some of her previous roles include Director of Business Transformation at Durham University, Director of Transformation NMC, Change Director/Director of Operations at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Agency and various change consultancy and interim Director roles.

Dr Vincent Connolly
System Executive Medical Director
Dr Vincent Connolly, System Executive Medical Director, North Cumbria Integrated Health & Care System, 1 April 2019 on secondment pending substantive appointment, and Acute Physician at the James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough.

Medical Director North, NHS Improvement 2016-2019; President of the British Association of Ambulatory Emergency Care. Dr Connolly is currently Regional Medical Director (North) NHS Improvement.

Vince completed a doctorate on the Impact of social deprivation on diabetes, cardiovascular risk & mortality. He has published papers on diabetes epidemiology & ambulatory emergency care. Medical Director, Emergency Care Improvement Programme. Clinical Lead for the Emergency Care Intensive Support Team since 2010, was a Clinical Advisor to the Ambulatory Emergency Care Delivery Network. Chair of the North East SHA, Clinical Innovation Team for Acute Care.

Dr Connolly was a recipient of the Hospital Doctor Acute Medicine Team of the Year Award 2004.

Ramona Duguid
Executive Director of Strategy

Ramona Duguid was previously director of integration for CPFT and NCUH and has played a key role in establishing north Cumbria as one of the 14 nationally recognised systems for leading integration. Ramona has worked in a range of roles across the NHS over the last 20 years, including leading improvements in governance and quality within the acute sector in north Cumbria as part of the special measures process.   

Ramona was born in Cumbria and still lives in the county she is passionate about helping to improve and develop our health and care services, with our partners for the communities we serve.

Gary O'Hare
Interim Executive Director of Mental Health & Learning Disabilities
Director of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust on a part time basis.  He is also Executive Director of Nursing and Chief Operating Officer at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.




Gary has worked in the NHS for over 36 years, and held a number of senior nursing and managerial positions during this time.  He has been an Executive Director of Nursing and Safer Care at Northumberland, Tyne & Wear for 16 years and for the last 10 years he has also been the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer.  He has been involved in two complex mergers and led Operational Services through the Trust’s CQC Comprehensive Inspection, achieving a rating of “outstanding”.

Gary spent four years at the Department of Health advising ministers and senior civil servants, working across both the policy and delivery arms of the DoH as well as working for the National Patient Safety Agency. He led a number of national initiatives during his time in this role.

He is a CQC Executive Reviewer for Well Led Inspections, a member of the National Mental Health Nurse Directors Steering Group and a member of the NHSI Clinical Reference Group.