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


Home > News > A new executive leadership team has been appointed at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

A new executive leadership team has been appointed at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

Posted on Thursday 17th April 2014

Helen Ray

A new executive leadership team has now been fully appointed by the board of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Following the substantive appointment of Ann Farrar as chief executive in October 2013, the Trust has been actively recruiting a new leadership team to drive forward improvements in safety and quality. The news comes following the announcement of Gina Tiller as the new chair of the Trust. 

From April 2014, the following executive directors will begin in post:

  • Helen Ray – Chief operating officer

Helen joins North Cumbria from South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust where she has spent the past nine years as chief operating officer. She has worked in the north east NHS for over 30 years and originally qualified as a nurse in 1986. Her management career began in 2001and she has since held a number of executive leadership positions with a strong track record in successful operational management.

  • Dr Debbie Freake – Director of strategy

Debbie joins the Trust from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust where she has been director of integration and acquisition. Prior to this, Debbie has worked in both commissioning and provider organisations at board level. Previously she worked in Newcastle PCT as medical director and deputy chief executive prior to taking on a role as director of service design in the North of Tyne Commissioning Consortium. Debbie worked as a GP for 12 years in inner city general practice in Newcastle. 

  • Gail Naylor - Director of nursing and midwifery

Gail is an experienced nurse and midwife who joins North Cumbria in May 2014 after five years as director of nursing, midwifery and operations at Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust. Gail has worked in a variety of clinical roles during her career, as well leading and managing teams in variety of senior leadership positions in the NHS. She will continue to practice as a nurse and midwife when she joins North Cumbria.

The board has also confirmed Dr Jeremy Rushmer as substantive executive medical director. Jeremy joined the Trust as the same time as Ann Farrar in September 2012 from his previous role as clinical business unit director for emergency care and elective surgery at Northumbria Healthcare. Jeremy has played a pivotal role, alongside Ann Farrar, addressing the key safety issues at North Cumbria which have helped bring the Trust’s mortality rates to within expected range and continuing to decline.

The Trust’s interim director of finance Steve Shanahan has also been appointed into a substantive executive director position on the board. Steve joined the Trust in November 2012 from his previous role with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. He joined the NHS in 2005 working for Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust where he successfully returned the Trust to financial surplus after a number of years in deficit.

Commenting on the appointments, chief executive Ann Farrar said:  “I am delighted that we now have a full executive leadership team in place to help us drive forward more positive changes and keep up the momentum on our journey of continuous improvement at North Cumbria. 

“We have come a long way in the past twelve months and our staff have done a truly outstanding job in delivering some of our key improvements to date. Having the new executive leadership team in place now gives us further stability as we continue to move forward and maintain the pace of change, as we all work towards emerging from special measures and the acquisition by Northumbria Healthcare.”

Gina Tiller, chair of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Our new executive leadership team all have very strong track records in high performing NHS organisations and bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our hospitals in North Cumbria. 

“This is another positive step forward for our Trust and will give further stability to our frontline teams and help us all to build on the tremendous improvements in quality and safety which have been led by Ann Farrar and Dr Jeremy Rushmer over the past year.

“Our collective focus now is on increasing our performance to a level that will lift us out of special measures so that the acquisition with our buddy trust Northumbria Healthcare can take place.”