More about the trust

The trust board

Board overview

The trust is managed overall by a trust board consisting of non-executive directors and executive directors, chaired by Phil Townsend.

The executive Team

The executive team is responsible for the day-to-day management of the trust in accordance with the trust's policy and national, statutory or other relevant guidance. The executive directors are full-time employees of the trust. It is a requirement that the board has a chief executive, chief financial officer, chief nurse, chief medical officer, and one other, who are eligible to vote. It may also appoint additional board members to cover other functions, but they will not be voting members of the board.

The Non-Executive Directors

The non-executive directors are drawn from the local community and are appointed through a recruitment process managed by NHS Improvement following advertisements in the local press. Generally, non-executive directors are selected with a view to representing the cultural, ethnic and business composition of the local community. They are expected to bring the community's perspective to the management of the trust and to provide an independent overview of the work of the trust's executive functions.

Chairman and Non-Executive Directors

Phil Townsend, Chairman

Picture of Phil Townsend, ChairmanAppointed chairman in February 2020, Phil is the longest serving board member and was vice chair for five years and a non-executive director since December 2011.

Phil comes from a commercial background, having spent over 30 years in the complex telecommunications industry, focused on IT and business transformation.

He chairs the board meetings and board development. Phil attends remuneration and finance and performance committees as a standing member.

Ginny Edwards, Vice Chair

Ginny joined the board in 2014 and was appointed vice chair in March 2019. She also provides board level support for 'Freedom to Speak Up'.

Ginny is a registered nurse, and has been working within the NHS and the healthcare industry since 1975.

She's held a number of director-level positions in organisations and at national level and is a Trustee of Peace Hospice Care.

Ginny chairs the quality committee, is a member of the remuneration and charity committees, and the nominated reserve member for the finance and performance committee .

Follow Ginny Edwards on Twitter: @Edwards1Ginny

Harvey Griffths, Non-Executive Director

Picture of Harvey Griffths, Non-Executive DirectorHarvey Griffiths was appointed to the board in January 2022. He is the chief executive of Horizon, an institutional investment firm in social, affordable and market rent housing.

Harvey brings over 25 years' public sector investment, management and operations experience to the trust and has many years' experience of successful start-ups, new business creation, origination and acquisitions.

He is a non-executive director at a specialist commercial energy and utility procurement company, Inteb Managed Services Ltd, and has served as a governor and chair of finance at Watford Girls Grammar School since 2015.

Edwin Josephs, Non-Executive Director

Picture of Edwin Jospehs, Non-Executive DirectorEdwin joined the board as a non-executive director in November 2020. He qualified as a chartered management accountant in 1984 and has extensive knowledge of corporate governance, risk and assurance and has held a number of senior financial positions.

Edwin has also held senior roles in the public and charity sectors, including at the National Consumer Council and the Legal Services Board and was previously a non-executive board member for Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) UK.

Edwin is no stranger to the NHS, having worked for a hospital trust in Buckinghamshire earlier in his career in a variety of roles, including finance and auditing and senior leadership. He has lived in Abbots Langley for 23 years.

Jonathan Rennison Non-Executive Director (Senior Independent Director)

Picture of Jonathan Rennison, Non-Executive DirectorJonathan Rennison joined the board in 2014 and has over 20 years’ experience of working in the education, voluntary and public sectors. He currently runs an organisation that provides coaching for private businesses, as well as public sector and voluntary organisations and his expertise lies in helping leadership teams to manage change and development.

Jonathan chairs the charity committee and is a member of the remuneration and quality committees and the nominated reserve for the people, education and research committee.

Natalie Edwards, Non-Executive Director

Photo of Natalie Edwards, Associate Non-Executive Director

Natalie was appointed non-executive director in 2019. She has 20 years' extensive HR experience working in both strategic and operational roles.

She has a strong track record of delivering business focused people strategies and transformation change projects.

Natalie chairs the trust's people, education and research committee, is a member of the remuneration committee, and is the nominated reserve for the audit committee.

Helen Davis, Associate Non-Executive Director

Photo of Helen Davis, Associate Non-Executive DirectorHelen was appointed as an Associate Non-Executive Director in 2020. She has over 30 years’ experience of the NHS working in both operational delivery and in a strategic advisory capacity. Helen has a background in all stages of the NHS estates and capital investment processes from strategic planning, through to business case approval, procurement and into construction and operation. She was previously UK Head of Health for an international advisory company and was the private sector Director on two NHS/private Strategic Estates Partnerships.

In addition Helen is a local Justice of the Peace.

Professor Ann Griffin, Teaching Non-Executive Director

Photo of Professor Ann Griffin, Teaching Non-Executive DirectorProfessor Ann Griffin joined the board in July 2022 with special responsibility for the trust’s teaching hospital status. She is a deputy director of University College London Medical School and both a doctor of medicine, on a GP career break, and a doctor of education.

As a clinical professor in medical education research, she brings significant experience and expertise in healthcare education, research and consultancy, as both an academic and a healthcare practitioner.

Ann is a member of the trust's people, education and research committee and provides oversight to the board on strategy, leadership, finance, and governance, with particular emphasis on championing excellence in education..

Chief Executive and Executive Directors

Matthew Coats, Chief Executive Officer

Picture of Matthew Coats, Chief ExecutiveMatthew Coats joined as chief executive officer in July 2022 after three decades covering a range of senior roles in the NHS and the Civil Service.

Matthew has led departments and implemented national change programmes in the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Department of Health. He has managed large teams and equally large budgets. Prior to that, he was deputy chief executive at a multi-site hospital trust.

Matthew lives in west Hertfordshire and was motivated to apply for the chief executive role because it is his local hospital trust and because he is motivated by the ethos of the NHS.

Michael van der Watt, Chief Medical Officer

Picture of Michael Van der Watt, Medical DirectorMichael joined the trust in 2011 as a consultant cardiologist becoming divisional director of medicine a year later. He was appointed as the trust's chief medical officer in April 2013.

He initially qualified in Cape Town, South Africa, and specialised in internal medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town. Michael immigrated to the UK in 1995 to specialise in cardiology, and has developed his particular interests in interventional cardiology, echocardiography, and pacemaker implantation.

His responsibilities include providing strong management and leadership to improve patient experience, and maintaining the trust's commitment to safe and efficient patient care.

Follow Michael van der Watt on Twitter: @Mikevanderwatt

Don Richards, Chief Financial Officer

Picture of Don Richards, Chief Financial OfficerDon joined the trust at the end of June 2014 having previously been director of finance for Bedford Hospital NHS Trust.

After working as a biochemist with ICI pharmaceuticals, Don worked as an auditor and consultant with Coopers and Lybrand (now PwC)

He returned to the NHS, first at St Mary’s Hospital NHS Trust and then built over 20 years’ experience in director roles for a number of NHS organisations, mostly in the acute sector but also including Central London Community Healthcare.

Don has been a member of the NHS bank technical support team, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy Health Panel and the Healthcare Financial Management Association Board.

Follow Don Richards on Twitter: @DonRichardsNHS.

Tracey Carter, Chief Nurse & Director of Infection Prevention and Control

Picture of Tracey Carter, Chief Nurse & Director of Infection Prevention and ControlTracey has over 30 years' experience as a nurse and has held several senior positions - most recently as deputy chief nurse at Barts Health.

She is passionate about ensuring high standards of care to improve the patient experience and believes that listening to staff, patients and carers and working with the communities we serve is key to understanding this.

Tracey chairs a number of meetings, including Safeguarding and Infection Prevention and Control, and also sits on several committees.

In May 2019, she received a prestigious Chief Nursing Officer award and in 2020 she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her nursing leadership and services to the NHS.

Follow Tracey Carter on Twitter: @CarterTreacle

Sally Tucker, Chief Operating Officer

Picture of Sally Tucker, Chief Operating OfficerAppointed in November 2016, Sally is responsible for the day to day operational management of the trust through clinical and general management coordination.

She aims to achieve the delivery of all national and local organisational targets through the management and continuous quality improvement of clinical services. Sally has worked extensively within the NHS for over 35 years, initially joining as a management trainee.

Her previous roles include deputy mental health services manager and deputy director of strategy and corporate services.

She is also a member of many committees, including the finance and performance committee and people, education and research committee.

Follow Sally on Twitter: @westherts_coo

Andrew McMenemy, Chief People Officer

Picture of Andrew McMenemy, Chief People OfficerAppointed in February 2021, having previously been the deputy chief people officer, Andrew has extensive experience in the health service with a career spanning over 24 years during which time he has worked on four trust boards in an executive role.

He is a graduate of law and human resource management at University in Scotland and the US. In recent years, Andrew has also graduated from the Nye Bevan Programme facilitated by the NHS Leadership Academy.

Andrew is passionate about developing inclusion, well-being and staff development in the NHS. This is demonstrated in his role supporting the people, education and research committee at the trust.

Paul Bannister, Chief Information Officer

Picture of Paul Bannister, Interim Chief Information Officer

Paul was appointed chief information officer in 2019. Paul is a qualified accountant with 15 years' NHS experience and brings extensive experience in commissioning, financial and acute contract management to his current role.

He has held previous roles at North East London Commissioning Support Unit (NELCSU) as director of contracting and analytics and as chief operating officer, building the largest and most successful commissioning support unit in England.

Alex White, Chief Redevelopment Officer

Picture of Alex White, chief redevelopment officer

Alex joined West Herts as chief redevelopment officer in April 2023 and has over 20 years’ experience leading on major projects in the health sector.

This includes working on the Cambridge Children’s Hospital (a new regional children’s hospital for the East of England), where he was project director.

Other projects in Alex’s career include a new wing at Guy’s Hospital in London, the national proton beam therapy programme as well as other schemes such as the pathology joint venture between UCLH, the Royal Free and The Doctors Laboratory.

Toby Hyde, Chief Strategy and Collaboration Officer

Picture of Toby Hyde, chief strategy and collaboration officer

Toby joined West Herts in April 2023 from NHS England where he was national deputy director of strategy.

Toby has a wealth of experience gained as deputy director of transformation and programme director for integrated care at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and previously worked at Hammersmith and Fulham CCG as associate director of strategy and primary care.

He is also a graduate of the NHS management training scheme and the Nye Bevan programme for executive leaders at the NHS Leadership Academy.

Dr Andrew Barlow, Divisional Director for Medicine

Picture of Dr Andrew Barlow, Divisional Director for Women's and Children's Services

Andrew has been in his current role since 2017, and also works as a consultant respiratory physician (having done so since 2005).

He holds clinical, financial and operational responsibility for the medicine division and has been key in the development and implementation of the ‘medical take’ pilot to improve patient flow. This collaboration with the division of Emergency Medicine has brought forward speciality review of patients admitted as an emergency in a more integrated approach with Emergency Medicine. This has resulted in reduced ED waiting times and a reduction in the inpatient bed base, thus ensuring that the right patients are seen in the right place at the right time by the right team.

Previously he has been the clinical lead for respiratory medicine, the STP chair for lung cancer, clinical director for medicine and clinical director for cancer services.

Follow Andrew on Twitter: @AndyatFrogmore

Mr Simon West, Divisional Director for Surgery, Anaesthetics and Cancer

Photo of Simon West, Divisional Director for Surgery, Anaesthetics and CancerSimon has worked within the NHS for 29 years and, has been a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon for 15 years, joining the trust in 2014. He specialises in surgery for both hips and knees. He was appointed as Divisional Director for Surgery, Anaesthetics and Cancer in April 2020.

As head of division he is responsible for the delivery of a high quality service across all surgical specialties, as well as critical care and cancer services. This includes achieving national targets on both finance and performance and promoting the trust's values on care, quality and commitment.

Anna Wood, Director of Governance

Photo of Anna Wood, Director of GovernanceAnna has worked as a doctor in the NHS for 35 years and for the last 19 of these as Consultant Haematologist at the trust which she continues.

She was clinical Haematology Lead and then appointed as Associate Medical Director of Clinical Audit and Standards in 2014 followed by Deputy Medical Director.

Her recent appointment in January 2020 to Director of Governance sees continuation and expansion of her work in clinical governance, mortality workstreams , Clinical Audit, overseeing the ‘Get it right first time’programme at the trust and the Medical Examiner Service which she set up in 2014.

William Forson, Divisional Director Women’s and Children’s

Photo of William ForsonWilliam Forson is a consultant obstetrician gynaecologist with over 20 years’ experience in obstetrics and gynaecology and has worked for several healthcare organisations of various sizes across the UK.

He has been principal and lead investigator for several research projects in HPV and cervical disease. William is currently running a self-sampling pilot for cervical screening for the Scottish Government.

Involved in setting standards for gynaecology services in low resource countries, William has a diverse background and is trained in emergency obstetric skills, antenatal and postnatal skills.

He is a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Appointments Advisory Group and the Global Health Division.