About the Board
The Trust Board is made up of Non-Executive and Executive Directors who together are responsible for leading Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. The Board brings together individuals from a variety of backgrounds and together they share corporate responsibility and accountability for all decisions that they collectively make.
The Board is responsible for the Trust’s overall performance and system of governance and control, which includes robust risk management, and therefore must seek and be provided with assurance on the effectiveness of the systems and processes in place for meeting the organisation’s strategic objectives.
The Trust Board meets in public at least six times a year, in addition to the Annual Public Meeting, and anyone is welcome to attend. The Chair of the Trust Board is appointed by NHS Improvement and the Chair works with this organisation to appoint other members of the Trust Board.
The Board has a range of committees (statutory and non-statutory), chaired by non-executive directors, that have key roles in relation to audit, risk, quality, safety, finance, performance, workforce and the Trust’s charity. Each of the committees submits from the Chair of the Committee an assurance report to each public meeting of the Board (every two months), which outlines key issues considered and highlights any risks and/or areas of development that the Board needs to be apprised of. There is cross membership between Committees to support the connection between the business of key committees and also to seek to integrate assurance reporting where relevant.
Trust Board Committees
Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
Chair: Sarah Newton, Non-Executive Director
The Audit & Risk Assurance Committee has oversight responsibilities and, where appropriate, facilitates and supports the attainment of effective internal control processes. It oversees the risk management system of the Trust. The Committee’s Terms of Reference map to the HMFA Audit Committee Handbook. Day to day responsibility for operational risk management is delegated to senior managers throughout the Trust and their responsibilities are set out in the Risk Management Strategy and Policy.
See the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee’s Terms of Reference.
This committee meets at least five times a year.
Quality Assurance Committee
Chair: Ruth Allarton, Senior Independent Director
The Quality Assurance Committee is responsible for seeking assurance on behalf of the Board about quality, safety, patient experience and the Trust’s registration with the Care Quality Commission.
See the Quality Assurance Committee’s Terms of Reference.
This committee meets monthly.
Finance and Performance Committee
Chair: Richard Stephenson, Vice-Chair of the Board, Non-Executive Director
The Finance and Performance Committee seeks assurance on behalf of the Board on the Trust’s financial management and organisational performance, business planning, estate and facilities management and digital infrastructure.
See the Finance and Performance Committee’s Terms of Reference.
This committee meets monthly.
People and Organisational Development Committee
Chair: Adam Broome, Non-Executive Director
The People and Organisational Development Committee seeks assurance on behalf of the Board on all aspects of workforce and organisational development supporting the provision of safe, high quality, patient-centered care.
See the People and Organisational Development Committee’s Terms of Reference.
This committee meets at least 6 times a year.
Remuneration and Appointments Committee
Chair: Ruth Allarton, Senior Independent Director
The Remuneration and Appointments Committee seeks to identify and appoint candidates to fill all very senior manager (VSM) positions and to determine the remuneration and other conditions of service for VSMs. The Committee will on occasion review the circumstances of other staff outside VSMs in line with its Terms of Reference. The Committee is also responsible for ensuring there is a robust fit and proper persons policy for the Board of Directors and for reviewing the overall composition and skills mix of the Board.
See the Remuneration and Appointments Committee’s Terms of Reference.
This committee meets at least three times per year.
Charitable Funds Committee
Chair: Sarah Newton, Non-Executive Director
The Trust is the sole Corporate Trustee of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity and, through its Charitable Funds Committee, ensures that effective structures and systems are in place to manage those charitable funds in accordance with statutory and other legal requirements and best practice as required by the Charity Commission.
See the Charitable Funds Committee’s Terms of Reference.
This committee meets at least 6 times a year.
Trust Board members
Dr Mairi Mclean BA Hons, MA, CQSW, DBA. Chairwoman
Dr Mairi Mclean holds professional social work and leadership qualifications and has led health and social care services for over 30 years. Mairi has wide social care, public health, housing, and private sector board level experience, has worked as CEO in two local authorities in England, and is currently the Chairwoman of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust.
Her doctoral research in people leadership designed and tested new ways of leading and following in high performing teams and organisations. This methodology she termed ‘Equivalent Leadership’. She further developed innovative and cost-effective approaches to performance and disciplinary management, which enable organisations and businesses to retain good staff and learn from mistakes.
Mairi has been a member of the RCHT Board for six years and is now proud and privileged to lead it. Working to mitigate health inequalities and the factors that lead to ill health is a passion, while ensuring the right care closest to people’s own safe homes is paramount. It is her passion to make vulnerable people’s lives the best they can be, and to enable the people who deliver services to have well supported work environments that care about their wellbeing.
Steve Williamson – Chief Executive
Steve has significant executive experience leading hospital and health services and has held senior roles in hospitals in Portsmouth, Southampton, South Tyneside and Australia. His most recent appointment was Chief Executive of Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service in Australia, a role he held for 5 years. In this role he was responsible for 12 hospitals and community health services across a region of 110,000 km2.
In Central Queensland Steve led the establishment of an innovative regional medical school education program and led the development of the region’s 10,000 lives program to address underlying health inequities.
Steve is passionate about delivering great quality regional and rural healthcare close to home and in working in partnership to achieve great outcomes. He has significant NHS senior leadership experience including his roles as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust. Steve also worked at a senior level at University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust where he was responsible for regional specialist cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, major trauma centre and other specialist services.
Ruth joined the RCHT Board in October 2018 as an Associate Non-Executive Director and in April 2021 was appointed as Non-Executive Director. Ruth is the Chair of the Quality Assurance Committee and also the Senior Independent Director.
Having been a regular visitor to Cornwall all her life, Ruth Allarton has held roles as Head of Department of Allied Health Professions at Sheffield Hallam University since 2009 and Partner Governor at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust since 2012. More recently Ruth held an Associate Non-Executive role where she has used her allied health professions knowledge to bring an additional perspective to decision-making and strategic planning.
Adam Broome re-joined the Board in November 2020, having previously been a Non-Executive Director from 2014 to 2016 and is the Chair of the People and Organisational Development Committee.
Adam has extensive experience at a strategic level across the public sector having been a Director for Plymouth City Council and for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and an Associate Director for the Audit Commission. He is at present self-employed, currently providing coaching, training and financial briefings and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), currently sitting on the CIPFA South west Council.
Nina joined the Trust Board as an Associate Non-Executive Director in June 2021. Nina is a registered dentist who has been providing care within Cornwall since 2003.
Her experience is mainly patient-centred but also includes academia, business strategy and team-building. She is interested in systems leadership and holistic systems thinking for the local population, especially health inequalities.
Sarah is the Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee and the Chair of the Charitable Funds Committee. Sarah joined the Trust in March 2020 and has extensive experience in the public, business and voluntary sectors.
She has held several leadership and change management roles, most recently as an elected Member of Parliament and Minister at the Department for Work and Pensions and the Home Office.
Sarah has 30 years’ experience of strategic planning, reputation management, innovation with a focus on sustainability and inclusion.
Sarah was the Director of the ILC -UK a ‘think and do’ tank tackling demographic change and Director with responsibility for fundraising and marketing at Age Concern – now Age UK. Sarah also has 10 years’ experience in financial services. She worked as Marketing and New Business Development Directors for American Express Europe, at Citibank and on the Board of Age Concern Enterprises.
Richard is the Vice-Chair of the Board and the Chair of the Finance & Performance Committee.
Having started his career as a physiotherapist, Richard spent over 30 years in higher education holding executive leadership positions as Dean of Faculty (Health) in two institutions, pro vice-chancellor, and then as deputy vice-chancellor at both the universities of Plymouth and Salford.
He has held a number of director and trustee roles, and served several national and regional bodies. He joined the Trust as Non-Executive director in February 2020 and is Emeritus Professor at the University of Salford.
Isobel has many years’ experience working as a leadership consultant and executive coach to health and care organisations and systems within the UK.
Following an early career as a systems analyst in the City of London, Isobel joined the NHS in the South West of England, working within a variety of primary and secondary care settings, before moving into the field of HR and OD as a Director.
Since 2003 Isobel has worked independently as a consultant and coach, with an extensive client base from within the health and care sector. She has a strong track record of the design and delivery of medical, nursing and managerial leadership development programmes within the UK
She holds post graduate qualifications in health management and Executive Coaching, and a Masters’ degree in Organisational Consulting from Middlesex University, on behalf of Ashridge Business School.
In recent years Isobel has built significant consulting expertise in working with complex systems and is currently working with leaders within statutory and third sector organisations and partnerships to support the integration of health and care within local systems. She is an Associate consultant with the Kings Fund, and with the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management.
Isobel has lived in Cornwall since the 1980s.
Associate Non-Executive Director
Aled Jones joined the RCHT Board as an Associate Non-Executive Director on 1 May 2023. Aled is Professor of Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality and Head of School (Nursing & Midwifery) at the University of Plymouth.
He is an international expert on patient safety and healthcare quality, leading and participating in research exploring the interface between workforce deployment, workplace culture, patient safety and staff wellbeing.
Current research focusses on evaluating the implementation of several initiatives aimed at improving patient safety in a range of different contexts, including mental health and midwifery settings.
He has advised a number of healthcare organisations in the UK and internationally, including contributing to the Welsh Government ‘Speak Up Safely’ advisory group and being an expert advisor and contributor to the United Nations (ODC) Guidance on Speaking Up in Healthcare.
Executive Members (Voting)
Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Nursing Officer
Kim is a passionate and highly visible professional leader, with extensive strategic and operational experience at a senior management level.
Her experience is from different health care systems both here in the UK and South Africa. She began nurse training at Addington Hospital, a large provincial hospital in Durban, South Africa in 1981. She went on to complete her mental health training at Townhill Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, Natal South Africa.
Kim returned to the UK in 1999 undertaking various roles within the Dudley Group of Hospitals and went on to complete her M.Sc. Professional Health Care Studies at Wolverhampton University in 2006.
Kim is passionate about non-medical work force development / leadership and engendering a ‘just culture’ work place climate. Evidenced based practice ensures patients receive patient centred quality care and this is further supported by Kim’s role as an Honorary Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Plymouth.
Kim took on her joint role with CFT in late 2019 and since May 2020 is also Deputy Chief Executive at RCHT.
Dr Allister Grant
Chief Medical Officer
Allister joined the Trust on 1 November 2019 and brings his experience in medical management, governance and quality, as well as extensive working with health and care partners and patient groups.
As well as being part of the RCHT Board, Allister will also be part of our clinical team working alongside colleagues in Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
A Consultant Hepatologist by background, Allister joined the Trust following an appointment at University Hospitals of Leicester. He spent 5 years as Head of the Liver and Gastro-intestinal Unit: a service he has helped develop since joining as the hospitals’ first hepatologist 15 years ago. Allister was also the Clinical Director/Medical Director for the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland NHS Alliance. This is a novel partnership of providers and commissioners in Leicestershire with a remit to transform services and deliver care closer to home for Leicestershire patients.
Chief Finance Officer
Karl Simkins, is an experienced Executive joining the Trust in July 2010, having previously undertaken senior finance and Director of Finance roles in Commissioning and Provider organisations across the West and East Midlands.
Before joining the Trust Karl was Director of Finance at NHS Leicester County and Rutland – one of the largest Primary Care Trusts in the country at that time. Karl has been on secondment as our Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Health & Care Partnership System Director of Finance. He returned directly to the Trust in April as Strategic Financial Advisor, and resumed his substantive role as at December 2020.
Chief Operating Officer
Robin joined RCHT in March 2019 as a General Manager before becoming the Deputy Chief Operating Officer later that year.
Robin is passionate about the need to make our operational delivery patient centred and works with clinical colleagues to deliver the principles of the right patient to the right place at the right time.
Whilst working at RCHT, Robin has led the operational response to the COVID pandemic and is now focused with teams on our recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.
Prior to joining RCHT Robin worked in a number of NHS Trusts in operational roles between clinical support services and Urgent and Emergency Care, his NHS experience also includes Private Patient Services and Procurement.
Executive Directors in Attendance at Board
Interim Chief Strategy and Performance Officer
Ella joined RCHT in 2016 where she has held the roles of Associate Director of Transformation and Deputy Chief Operation Officer before most recently being the Deputy Director of Strategy and Performance.
Ella is a qualified chartered accountant (CIMA) having graduated in the NHS as Financial Management Trainee in 2008. Since then, she has held a number of senior operational roles across a diverse range of clinical services as well as providing leadership of Research and Development, Charity and Transformation teams within the NHS. Ella is passionate about the impact quality improvement can have on both patient and staff experiences and she is proud to have led the establishment of the Quality Improvement Hub at RCHT.
Joint Chief Information Officer (RCHT +CFT)
Kelvyn Hipperson joined the RCHT Board in Jan 2019 taking on a dual role as Chief Information Officer across Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and Cornwall Partnership Foundation NHS Trust.
Kelvyn worked in senior technology delivery roles in both the private sector and civil service prior to joining the NHS. He is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering & Technology and Member of the British Computer Society.
Dual Chief People Officer
Alison joined Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) in 2022 and became Dual Chief People Officer for RCHT and Cornwall Foundation Trust in 2023.
Alison is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors, a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development and holds a MA in Human Resource Management.
She spent her early career in the private sector working for large retail companies before moving to TV/Radio broadcasting/ Internet and IT.
Alison has worked as a HR Director within the acute NHS sector and held the role of the Chair for the HR network of the Association of UK University Hospitals ( AUKUH).
Alison has held a Non Executive Director role for Young Enterprise and a Board member role for NHS Employers Policy Board.
Alison also has been a Chief Operating Officer within palliative care and held various Executive HR Director roles including University, Residential/Domiciliary care.
Alison has a passion for inclusion and customer service.
Page last reviewed: 26 May 2023