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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. We also have Group Executive Directors who work across Northampton and Kettering General Hospitals as part of the University Hospitals of Northamptonshire Group.

John MacDonald Chair 03072023John MacDonald, Chair

John joined UHN on 1st July 2023 as Chair, alongside this role he will retain his role as Chair of University Hospitals of Leicestershire, a role he has held since April 2021.

John has been a Chair in various NHS and Foundation Trust organisations for a number of years bringing a wealth of experience. This includes the role of Chair in an ICB setting, where John has linked with system partners to address challenges. John is looking forward to working more closely with our system partners, to bring us together to create a better service for the patients of Northamptonshire.

Prior to joining the NHS, John worked overseas in Africa and the Indian sub-continent as an agricultural and rural development economist on projects for the British Government, the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.


Richard Mitchell - White background

Richard Mitchell, Joint Chief Executive, UHN and UHL

Richard joined as joint Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Northamptonshire (UHN) and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) in October 2023.

He has been Chief Executive of UHL since 2021 and recently worked with the boards of both Kettering General Hospital (KGH) and Northampton General Hospital (NGH) as the Senior Responsible Officer for Collaboration.

He is the also the Chair of the East Midlands Cancer Alliance and Midlands Regional Talent and Leadership Board.

Richard is proud to work in his local hospitals and he and his family live in South Leicestershire. 

 Heidi- White background croppedHeidi Smoult, CEO

Heidi joined NGH as Hospital Chief Executive in August 2021. Prior to this, Heidi was at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) where she held the role of Deputy Chief Inspector for seven years.

Heidi began her career as a Midwife and has worked in a number of operational roles in NHS Trusts, before leading work at a regional and national level in the CQC.

Executive directors 

Palmer- white background Palmer Winstanley, Chief Operating Officer

In February 2022 Palmer was appointed as Chief Operating Officer for Northampton General Hospital. Prior to this, he was the Site Executive Director of Operations at Kings College Hospital. He is passionate about empowering our leaders and enabling clinically led change for the benefit of patients across Northamptonshire.

Palmer was initially an Army Officer in the Infantry for just over 9 years serving around the world on operational deployments in Kosovo and Afghanistan. His roles included commanding troops on the front line, Intelligence work, communications, strategic NATO work and training recruits. Since leaving, he joined the NHS and worked in Norfolk, Hertfordshire and London working across all areas of Acute Hospitals before joining us in Northampton.

Hemant Nemade Hemant Nemade, Medical Director

Hemant joined NGH in 2017 as a Consultant Urologist. Since then, he has worked in a number of roles from Regional Director for the Royal College of Surgeons to the Trust Clinical Director for Cancer Performance. 

Following his appointment as Deputy Medical Director in 2020, Hemant has supported the organisation with some key initiatives from Governance to starting robotic assisted surgical services in Northamptonshire. He was appointed as Medical Director in July 2022.

 Nerea headshot Nerea Odongo, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs

Nerea joined Northampton General Hospital Director of Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs in April 2023.

Nerea previously worked as Director of Nursing for Family and Integrated Support Services at Northwest Anglia NHS Foundation Trust. She has also worked in various acute NHS trusts over the past 20 years and has experience working in several leadership roles, within a variety of different specialties.

Nerea said; “Quality of care and patient experience are at the heart of everything we do and underpins everything we are working to achieve for our patients. I am passionate about working with teams to provide professional and visible leadership, and I am constantly aiming to improve the care delivered to patients.”

UHN Group Directors

Paula WB Paula Kirkpatrick, Chief People Officer

Paula was appointed as Group Chief People Officer in September 2022 after a career in HR spanning both public and private sectors, latterly including 15 years in policing where she was half of a job share partnership working in a number of senior roles.  Whilst working for Cambridgeshire Constabulary Paula was part of the HR leadership team that developed a collaborated HR service across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police forces.

Paula’s areas of interest include health and wellbeing and equality, diversity and inclusion.  She believes leadership is about supporting teams and individuals to be the best they can be: by ensuring people are healthy and well in the broadest sense; are able to be themselves in the workplace, bringing all their skills and expertise to their role; and are supported and developed to reach their potential.

 Rebecca Taylor
Rebecca Taylor, Group Director of Transformation and Quality Improvement

Becky joined UHN in October 2021, and has responsibility for leading the Transformation and Quality Improvement agenda across UHN. This includes being the executive lead for large-scale transformation programmes across KGH and NGH, supporting and enabling a culture of quality improvement, and the monitoring and tracking of programmes and projects.

Becky spent much of her career in management consultancy supporting different acute providers, community providers, local authorities and NHS national bodies to develop strategies and transform services.  She is a Health Foundation Q Community Fellow and is passionate about supporting staff to make things work better for both our patients and our staff.

 Stuart Finn Stuart Finn, Group Director of Estates and Facilities

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. 

Sam Holden - edited Sam Holden, Group Director of Communications 

Sam joined the hospital in October 2023 and has responsibility for corporate communications and engagement. He began his career as a journalist for international news agency Thomson Reuters before joining the NHS, where he has worked across several communications roles at mental health, community and acute trusts. He was the Assistant Director of Communications and Engagement at Milton Keynes University Hospital, leading the organisation’s communications response throughout the pandemic. Most recently, Sam was an Associate Director for communications and public affairs consultancy Lexington where he led a number of accounts for both national and international clients from the life sciences, MedTech and public sectors. 

 Natasha Chare- WB Natasha Chare, Group Chief Digital Information Officer 

Natasha brings with her a strong track record of leading engaged teams to deliver strategic change for the benefit of patients and staff. Natasha’s focus is to ensure our digital team responds to the needs of our organisation knowing that digital is a key enabler in supporting our colleagues to have the tools and information they need to do their job most effectively. Natasha’s emphasis is on digital working with wider teams to bring about digital progress across our hospital including supporting clinicians to have access to full, accurate and timely patient information and giving patients the ability to increasingly be in control of their care.

Natasha’s background is in change management and transformation –before joining the digital team in 2020, Natasha was in Kettering’s transformation team. Prior to this Natasha was a management consultant working alongside public sector teams to improve operational practices and processes including becoming the digital lead for the company. Natasha has also worked in numerous continuous improvement and commercial roles in the logistics sector. More recently, Natasha has received a post graduate diploma in Digital Health Leadership.

Richard Wheeler Richard Wheeler, Interim Group Chief Finance Office 

Richard joins UHN from Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) where he has been the Executive Director of Finance since 2016. As a Chartered Accountant, Richard has many years of NHS experience in a range of sectors including Strategic Health Authority, Oxford University Hospitals and East Midlands Ambulance Service. Richard holds a Maths degree and in 2012, was awarded Healthcare Finance Managers Association, Deputy Finance Director of the Year.

Polly Grimmett- WBPolly Grimmett, Group Director of Strategy

Polly has responsibility for leading the Strategic Development of the two organisations. This includes being the executive lead for the redesign and rebuild of the site, including leading the work to rebuild a new Urgent Care facility for KGH.  The role also includes developing relationships with other partners, to ensure patients in Northamptonshire receive an integrated approach to all there care needs and remain as well as possible. Polly spent much of her career in operational management roles in different acute providers, and also worked in commissioning and community services. Most recently she was part of the merger team at North West Anglia and led the redevelopment of the Stamford hospital site.

Richard Apps Director of Corporate and Legal Affairs Richard Apps, Director of Corporate and Legal Affairs

Richard has worked in health and care for over 25 years, joining the Kettering Board in 2018 and Northampton in 2022, during the formation of the University Hospitals of Northamptonshire (UHN) NHS Group.

Richard has previously worked in adult learning disability services in Northamptonshire before joining the NHS in Leicestershire in 2005. Richard also worked nationally and regionally with NHS Improvement where he focussed on quality and performance improvement across a range of NHS Trusts. Richard has also held honorary academic teaching posts at local universities.

NGH Directors

Tracey Robson- WB Tracey Robson, Hospital Director of People

Tracey was appointed as People Director for Northampton General Hospital in September 2021. Before being appointed into the role, Tracey was in temporary positions at NGH joining as an OD Consultant and then covering the Deputy Director for People services at NGH.

Tracey has 30 years' experience in HR within the private sector and has delivered across a broad spectrum of people services working in close partnership with teams in the UK and internationally. Throughout her career she has led on complex transformation projects across different geographies, critical recruitment campaigns and delivered OD & Training interventions.

Keen to bring her commercial experience and give back to her local community Tracey works in partnership with the leadership team at NGH to cultivate a culture that is open and inclusive and utilises a model of continuous improvement to always be open to learning as a hospital and remain curious.

Mark Richardson- WBMark Richardson, Hospital Finance Director

Mark has been the Director of Finance for Northampton General Hospital since January 2023. Prior to this role, Mark was the Deputy Director of Finance, during his 3rd tenure at NGH.

Mark started his finance career with NGH, working in a temporary role after University to assist in the application for Trust status. After working in France for year, Mark returned, working in Financial Systems and Financial Management while qualifying with CIMA. After stints with Northampton College, Santander, Barclaycard International and the leisure industry Mark returned to NGH in 2003. He has worked in many positions in Financial Management, and specialist roles, including implementing the initial NGH costing system, and 5 years as Director of Income.

Mark is passionate to promote the open and supportive culture developed by the NGH leadership team, and to empower the Finance team to continuously develop as an integral part of the hospital.

Non-executive directors

Rachel Parker- WB
Rachel Parker, Vice Chair and Senior Independent Director

Rachel Parker was appointed as interim chair on 31 March 2023. She has several years' board level experience of managing operations and improving performance through a combination of leadership and strategic planning.

  Jill Houghton Jill Houghton

Jill was appointed as a non-executive director in May 2018.  She is currently a registered nurse and has worked as a midwife and health visitor. Jill has had experience in all sectors of healthcare, clinically and managerially within primary and secondary care.  As a board member she has been responsible for patient services, quality, medicines optimisation and children, young people and maternity commissioning. Jill was most recently Chief Nurse for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG and is now a Maternity Clinical Lead within the national Maternal and Neonatal Health Safety Collaborative. 

 Andre Ng- WB Professor G. André Ng

André was appointed as a non-executive director in December 2021. He is a consultant cardiologist and electrophysiologist based at Leicester with specialist interest in heart rhythm management. He is a clinical academic and is currently Head of Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester, with research interests in sudden cardiac death and atrial fibrillation. He is Vice President (Education & Research) of the British Cardiovascular Society and recently appointed as Deputy Chair of the East Midlands Cardiac Network as well as clinical pathway lead for heart rhythm.

 Elena Lokteva-WB Elena Lokteva

Elena’s executive career was in the private equity. Focusing on investments in complex, turnaround situations she managed international teams handling acquisitions and exits across Europe and the Middle East and led restructuring of business in Russia and Finland.
Elena has more than twenty years of board level experience in executive, and non-executive capacities. Her current NED portfolio includes another two organisations in healthcare sector - North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust and St Andrews Healthcare. Elena is a qualified accountant and a Fellow at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

Denise Kirkham-WB Denise Kirkham

Denise joined the NGH Board in February 2020. As an Executive Resourcing and OD professional, Denise is highly experienced at working with Boards and Executive teams in an advisory and developmental capacity. Qualified to Level A and B in Occupational Testing, Myers Briggs and ILM 7 Executive coaching studies, Denise has held posts at Director level across sectors. Throughout her consultancy career, Denise has led and delivered on executive and NED recruitment, major Culture Change projects, organisational structure reviews and Executive coaching. Through her earlier career in the private sector, Denise developed strong business development and commercial skills, and a clear understanding of Customer Focus.

Christopher Welsh Christopher Welsh

Chris joined NGH on 8th December 2023 as a NED. He has been a NED at Kettering General Hospital, the Trust’s partner in the UHN Group, since 2017.

Chris has held a number of senior and board posts in the NHS, including vascular surgeon and then Medical Director of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He is the Chair of the Yorkshire and the Humber Clinical Senate which provides impartial and independent advice to healthcare organisations. His key interests include patient safety, the quality of services and clinical collaboration and  education.

caroline Caroline Stevens

Caroline Stevens started her career as a community pharmacist in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, moving into hospital pharmacy management. She later became an operating theatre manager and hospital Managing Director.

In 2009 she moved in the charity sector as a senior director at The British Lung Foundation, then Chief Executive at a children’s disability charity. Since 2019 she has been the Chief Executive at The National Autistic Society, a UK wide charity supporting autistic people and their families.

Caroline lives in Northamptonshire. She is a mother of three adult sons, including Jack who is autistic, has severe learning disabilities, and has complex support needs requiring full support 24 hours per day. The experience of being a carer and securing appropriate health and care services for her disabled son has shaped many aspects of her life and career. This makes her determined to strive for safe, high quality health services that are accessible to all.



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