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The trust board

Board overview

The Trust is managed overall by a Trust Board consisting of Non-Executive and Executive Directors, chaired by Professor Steve Barnett.

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, Director of Finance, Director of Nursing, Medical Director, 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 by a special Appointments Commissioner who selects them 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

Professor Steve Barnett, Chair

Professor Barnett has more than 25 years' experience in the health sector, most recently as a Non-Executive Director of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. Professor Barnett also recently completed a major piece of work on behalf of the four UK Health Departments to develop a new Academy for Healthcare Science.

Prior to this, he spent two and a half years as Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation and was also a member of the Board of the International Hospitals Federation.

Professor Barnett is also the Chair and Client Partner of SSG Health Ltd, Non-Executive Chairman of Finegreen Associates and a Trustee and Director of the Institute of Employment Studies. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bradford and is visiting Professor in the Business School of the University of West London.


Phil Townsend, Non-Executive director (Vice chair)

Recently appointed Vice-Chair, Phil has worked for over 30 years leading highly complex system change and very large business transformations in the fast moving and constantly evolving Telecommunications industry.

Phil started his working life as a teacher in Secondary school before entering Industry. He lives in St Albans.


Ginny Edwards, Non-Executive Director and Freedom to Speak up Guardian

Ginny Edwards has worked in healthcare for all her working life and is a qualified nurse. She has held a number of senior positions and led a number of national improvement programmes.

Most recently she has been working with senior leaders and healthcare organisations on organisational development, quality improvement and clinical governance.

She is a trustee of Peace Hospice Care in Watford, Vice Chair of Hertsmere Citizens Advice Bureaux and a member of Watford Rotary Club. She is also a trustee of the Association for Perioperative Practice.

Follow Ginny Edwards on Twitter: @Edwards1Ginny


John Brougham, Non-Executive Director

Picture of John Brougham, Non-Executive DirectorJohn Brougham has 40 years’ experience of working in large and small businesses, mainly in the technology and telecoms sectors, including 22 years at BT (British Telecom) where he was a Divisional Finance Director.

He has served as a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of both private and public limited companies, and has also been Audit Committee Chair.

Currently John is an independent Non Executive Director of two companies, Technetix Ltd and eg solutions plc, where he is also Chair of the Audit Committee.


Jonathan Rennison, Non-Executive Director (Senior Independent Director)

Picture of Jonathan Rennison, Non-Executive DirectorJonathan Rennison has over 20 years’ experience of working in the education, voluntary and public sectors. He currently runs an organisation which 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 has held a number of senior positions, including as Director of Development and Communications at Zinc Arts, an arts and education charity.


Paul Cartwright, Non-Executive Director

Picture of Paul Cartwright, Non-Executive DirectorPaul worked for Accenture (management consultants) for more than 20 years, where the specialised in finance, risk management and regulation.

Paul is a Trustee of The Church Lands, a charity that supports the running of three parish churches in St Albans and the Independent Examiner of the Dominic Simpson Memorial Trust, a charity which aims to improve education opportunities for women in the Middle East.

In addition, Paul volunteers for Open Door St Albans, a charity that supports homeless people in and around the city


Chief Executive and Executive Directors

Helen Brown, Acting Chief Executive

Picture of Helen Brown, Acting Chief ExecutiveHelen has an in depth understanding of the NHS developed over a 20-year career in North and East London. She Joined West Hertfordshire Hospitals as Director of Transformation in September 2014.

She has worked in both provider and commissioning organisations, with a focus on community and integrated care service development and major service change.

Helen’s role is to ensure that West Hertfordshire Hospitals has a clear approach to delivering and sustaining transformational change so that the Trust, working closely with its patients and partners, is able to improve continuously the quality, responsiveness and sustainability of its services


Michael van der Watt, Medical Director/Director of Patient Safety

Picture of Michael Van der Watt, Medical DirectorMichael van der Watt has worked within the Trust for 13 years, as a Consultant Cardiologist in addition to his most recent role as the Divisional Director of Medicine. 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.

Michael was appointed as the Trust's Medical Director in April 2013. His responsibilities will include providing strong management and leadership towards the patients' 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 the then Coopers and Lybrand.

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


Nick Kennell, Interim Director of Strategy

Picture of Nick Kennell, Interim Director of StrategyNick’s role is to ensure that the trust has a clear approach to delivering and sustaining transformational change. By working closely with our patients and partners we can continuously improve the quality, responsiveness and sustainability of our service.

Nick has a wealth of experience gained as a management consultant dealing with high profile strategic changes across the health sector. He has worked in strategic planning and service design, and supported major national, regional and local transformation programmes for regulators, commissioners and providers.


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

Picture of Tracey Carter, Chief Nurse & Director of Infection Prevention and Control Tracey has over 25 years' experience as a nurse and has held several senior positions, most recently as Deputy Chief Nurse at Barts Health.

Tracey is proud to be a nurse as she feels it is the best job in the world and it is a privilege to get up and be one every day. She is passionate about ensuring high standards of care to improve the patient experience.

She believes that listening to staff, patients, carers and working with the communities we serve is key to understanding this. Tracey was appointed as Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention and Control.

Follow Tracey Carter on Twitter: @CarterTreacle


Sally Tucker, Chief Operating Officer

Picture of Sally Tucker, Chief Operating OfficerSally has worked extensively in the National Health Service for over 30 years having originally joined the service as a Management Trainee. Over the period of her Health Service experience Sally has developed an extensive knowledge of services and is an accomplished Director in service delivery and development. Her experience also includes six years within Mental Health Services.

Sally is passionate about the delivery and continuous development of patient focussed services enabling good patient experience and quality outcomes.

Over recent months following the Trust’s Care Quality Commission visit in April 2015, Sally has supported the development and delivery of the organisation's Quality Improvement Plan in her previous capacity as Deputy Director of Strategy and Corporate Services.

Sally was appointed as Chief Operating Officer in April 2016 to lead the organisations ongoing service delivery and improvements in patient care by working with multi-disciplinary staff, healthcare professionals and health partners.


Paul da Gama, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development

Picture of Paul da Gama, Director of Workforce Paul began his career as a teacher, working in Japan and Poland. He then joined the banking group, HSBC, as a graduate trainee where he worked for 10 years in a variety of roles including being a member of the team that helped set up their internet banking service.

He joined Royal Mail Group in 2003 where he held a variety of different senior HR roles and was actively involved in helping to raise millions of pounds for a variety of national charities.

He joined the NHS in 2012 as Director for Human Resources at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and joined West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust in summer 2014 where his main responsibilities are to ensure that the Trust has a well resourced, well trained and engaged workforce.


Sean Gilchrist, Acting Chief Information Officer

Picture of Sean Gilchrist, Acting Chief Information OfficerSean has over 18 years’ experience in NHS informatics and Information Technology management. Broad exposure to the challenges of operational management, service development and strategic planning have provided Sean with a well-rounded perspective on leadership and management in an acute healthcare environment.

Sean has a passion for mobile technology and its application in healthcare. Other interests include leadership, organisational culture and their impact on technology adoption. Sean joined the trust in 2014 as Associate Director of ICT from UCLH NHS Foundation Trust.


Paddy Hennessy, Director of Environment

Picture of Paddy Hennessy, Director of EnviromentPaddy joined the NHS in 2009, having previously worked in the construction industry in Ireland where he focused on infrastructure and healthcare projects. He then spent five years at North Middlesex Hospital delivering a new PFI Hospital, major retained estate reconfiguration and a new women and children’s unit.

Paddy joined West Herts in 2014 and has previously held posts including Head of Engineering and Associate Director of Environment. In November 2017, he was appointed as Director of Environment.

Paddy prides himself on being a passionate estates and facilities professional who always endeavours to deliver the best possible environment for all our patients, staff and visitors.


Louise Halfpenny, Director of Communications

Picture of Louise Halfpenny, Communications DirectorLouise joined the Trust in April 2016. She has more than a decade’s experience leading the communications function in acute trusts.

Her career highlights include securing Channel 4’s ‘24 Hours in A&E’ whilst at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Louise put her skills from having been a journalist (across print and broadcast at a local, regional and national level) to good use when successfully handling media relations during a high profile inquest.

She has managed complex public consultations about NHS services and was part of an award-winning communications team whilst working for a humanitarian aid agency.


Fran Gertler, Director of Integrated Care

Picture of Fran Gertler - Director of Integrated CareFran joined the Trust in February 2017 after six years with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust where she had the opportunity to work across health and social care to provide local system change.

Prior to this she has held various clinical and managerial positions in community trusts in west and north London and is passionate about developing services that cross traditional organisational boundaries.

Fran's role is to work with our local partners to develop truly integrated, high quality, sustainable services that give patients the best possible experience and outcomes.


Jane Shentall, Director of Performance

Picture of Jane Shentall - Director of PerformanceJane has worked in the NHS since 1986 when she joined Watford General Hospital as a medical secretary.

She returned to the Trust in March 2015 after four years at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Trust, where most recently she was Divisional Head of Operations, with responsibility for the provision of elective care services and the delivery of 18 weeks Referral to Treatment (RTT) performance.