Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust is governed by a Board of Directors. It's made up of Executive Directors, appointed to specific roles within the organisation, and Non-Executive Directors, who bring a range of external expertise with them.

Paul Farenden (2)

Paul Farenden, Chairman

Paul was appointed as Chairman on 1st March 2012. Paul is a local man who was previously chief executive at the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He has some 40 years of experience in healthcare finance, management and leadership. A qualified accountant, Paul has been chief executive in three NHS Trusts over the last 20 years, where he has led large scale organisational change. His experience has provided him with an in-depth understanding of both the NHS and the wider healthcare system.

Swart- Sonia 5x7

Dr Sonia Swart, Chief Executive

Sonia was appointed as Chief Executive on 20th September 2013, having been the Trust's Medical Director since September 2007 and acting Chief Executive since July 2013.  Sonia qualified from the University of Cambridge and went on to train in general medicine and clinical haematology.  She worked as a consultant haematologist in North Warwickshire before joining Northampton General Hospital in 1994.  Prior to becoming Medical Director, Sonia combined an active clinical role with a number of managerial activities, including head of pathology, clinical director for diagnostics and clinical lead for the foundation trust application.  Sonia has made a commitment to align the trust's aims, values, objectives and corporate governance to support a clinically-led quality agenda.

Non-executive directors

Anne Gill

Anne Gill

Anne’s experience includes a successful career as a senior human resources executive in consumer goods, retail and public sector organisations, with 10 years as HR Board Director for a multi-national FMCG organisation.  She has also held leadership roles in supply chain and sales.  She is currently a Board Trustee for the charity MedicAlert and works as an independent consultant specialising in leadership coaching and organisation development.  She holds an MA in coaching and mentoring practice from Oxford Brookes University and is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development.  As a newly appointed Associate NED, Anne welcomes the opportunity to help make a positive contribution to the delivery of the very best care for patients in her local hospital.

David Noble

David Noble

David Noble’s career has been in finance covering both the public and private sectors. Most recently David has spent nine years as Finance Director of the Equipment Procurement and Support sector of the Ministry of Defence, leading change programmes to improve the performance of the organisation. David chairs the audit committee.

John Archard-Jones2

John Archard-Jones

John has 30 years of commercial experience at senior levels in manufacturing, sales management, project management and major bids. He is a former managing director of the African region of ICL, a leading technology company. John now works in business consultancy and is an experienced non-executive director within both the public sector as well as private and listed companies in the UK and overseas.  He is a former councillor with the London Borough of Barnet and is the founder and former member of a London-based charity for people with learning disabilities.

Phil Zeigler lr

Phil Zeidler, Vice Chairman

Phil had a successful career as an entrepreneur in financial services, building a number of businesses, including the largest independent outsourced distributor of general insurance in the UK. Currently Chairman of two insurance businesses, a music fund and two consultancies specialising in strategy and change management, his core skills lie in strategic planning, innovation and developing strategic relationships. He is married to a consultant paediatrician. 

Dr Melanie Henwood

Dr Melanie Henwood

Melanie has extensive experience of undertaking independent research in health and social care, and in understanding the experiences of people using services.  She has particular experience in researching support for older people, people with complex needs, and family carers.  Melanie is especially interested in the interface between health and social care and the importance of partnerships in achieving high quality personalised support enabling people to have choice and control.  Melanie has previous non-executive experience on the Board of the General Social Care Council.  She was awarded an OBE for services to social care in 2008 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.    


Executive directors 

Currently four of the executive directors are voting members of the Board, including the chief executive.

Debbie Needham

Deborah Needham, Chief Operating Officer/Deputy Chief Executive

Deborah trained as a Registered General Nurse in Lancashire where she held positions in both respiratory and emergency medicine units, before moving to London in 1998 as a ward manager then general manager. After graduating as a nurse, Deborah gained a diploma in respiratory medicine and nursing care and a BA (Hons) in healthcare management.  Deborah moved to NGH in 2004 and has worked as a general manager, Deputy COO and care group director.   In 2014 Deborah was substantively appointed to the Chief Operating Officer after a period of acting into the role. Within her portfolio she is responsible for the 4 clinical divisions, national performance standards, emergency planning & resilience, IT and information and the operational day to day running of the entire hospital. Deborah is married and lives in Northampton.


Mr Matt Metcalfe, Medical Director

Matt joined NGH as medical director in the autumn of 2017 having been deputy medical director at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS trust and previously medical lead for the cancer centre there. He is a liver and pancreas surgeon by background and was motivated to join us by our vision to deliver best possible care for all our patients

Carolyn Fox - suit for board poster M15-000404-01 co

Carolyn Fox, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Patient Services

Carolyn began her nursing career in Sheffield and qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1990. She held staff nurse positions and went on to become a Ward Manager in respiratory medicine. Carolyn worked in London as a Clinical Nurse Specialist before relocating to the North West. With an interest in quality, Carolyn worked as a National Programme Manager, NHS Quality Improvement Scotland and Assistant Director of Nursing, Salford Royal Foundation Trust before joining Aintree University Hospital as Deputy Director of Nursing. 


Phil Bradley, Interim Director of Finance

Phil is currently on secondment to NGH from Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust.  He is a highly experienced finance, business and marketing professional with over 35 years NHS related service, having held a number of director roles in both NHS commissioning and provider organisations.  He has worked in a number of acute organisations previously in Milton Keynes, Watford and Cambridge and most recently he has worked in the Hertfordshire health economy at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust.              

Phil is a qualified member of both the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He also sits as a member on the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s National Policy and Research Committee.


In addition, there are four non-voting directors on the Board. 

Chris Pallot v2

Chris Pallot, Director of Strategy and Partnerships

Chris has worked at NGH since January 2010. He joined the NHS Management Training Scheme in 1995 after graduating from university and since then has gained a postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and an MSc in Management.  During his career, Chris has held previous positions at Kettering General Hospital, the NHS Modernisation Agency, Northamptonshire Heartlands PCT and NHS Northamptonshire. In previous roles he has been responsible for operational management, service improvement and commissioning & contracting. As Director of Strategy and Partnerships, he has responsibility for strategy development, contracting and market development. 

Janine Brennan blue background

Janine Brennan, Director of Workforce and Transformation

Janine was appointed as Director of Workforce & Transformation on 2nd April 2013, having worked previously as Director of Workforce and Organisational Development at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. Janine qualified in law and Human Resources management and has worked in a number of acute trusts, as well as the public sector and not for profit organisations. Her special interest is in developing staff commitment & engagement in ways which lead to improvements in the care we give to patients. 


Stuart Finn 1

Stuart Finn, Interim Director of Facilities and Capital Development

Stuart's career began in electrical engineering.  He has worked in both technical and senior management roles in several industries including airports, automotive manufacturing, semi-conductor manufacturing and facilities management.

He joined NGH in December 2006 and prior to his current role he was the Head of Estates and Deputy Director of Facilities.  

Stuart has responsibility for both hard and soft services facilities management as well as our procurement and sterile services departments.  

Catherine Thorne

Catherine Thorne, Director Of Corporate Development, Governance and Assurance

Catherine was appointed as Director of Corporate Development, Governance and Assurance in January 2015 having previously held the post of Director of Governance for London North West Healthcare NHS Trust. She started her career clinically within radiotherapy and oncology services, transitioning into a variety of senior NHS roles in quality assurance, service improvement and governance. Catherine acts as the Board Secretary in addition to responsibility for clinical governance, health and safety and legal services. She has a particular interest in developing organisational risk and assurance systems to support delivery of the best possible care for patients. In March 2016 Catherine was appointed as the Trust's Freedom to Speak Up Guardian.

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