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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.

John MacDonald Chair 03072023

John 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.

John’s roles within the NHS include:

  • Chair – Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • Chair – North Midlands Hospitals NHS Trust

  • CEO – Derbyshire Royal Infirmary NHS Trust

  • CEO – Queens Medical Centre

  • CEO – John Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust

  • Chair – Derby and Derbyshire Integrated Care Board

Rachel Parker

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.

Heidi Smoult

Heidi 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.

Non-executive directors

Anette Whitehouse

Anette Whitehouse

Anette is an experienced nurse and health visitor who is passionate about seeking and attaining better outcomes for the users of public services. Anette’s background is in researching, evaluating and co-ordinated services for children with complex needs, following which she has managed large children’s centres and nursery schools. Anette joined the Trust in January 2023, lives in Market Harborough, is the Team Manager for a Quadrille Team and the Chair of her local Riding Club.

  Jill Houghton NED

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. 


Professor G. Andre 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

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

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.

Executive directors 

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.

Chief Operating Officer Palmer Winstanley

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.

 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.”

Group Directors

Paula Acting Chief People Officer

Paula Kirkpatrick, Chief People Officer

Paula joined Kettering General Hospital in 2019 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.  Initially joining KGH as Deputy Director HR and OD in September 2019, Paula was appointed as Director HR and OD in June 2020 and Acting Chief People Officer in July 2022.

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.

On 1st September 2022 Paula was appointed as Group Chief People Officer.


Rebecca Taylor, Group Executive Director of Transformation and Quality Improvement

Becky joined Kettering and Northampton Hospitals 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 1

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. 

 Suzie Oneill

Suzie O'Neill , Group Director of Communications 

Suzie joined the Trust in February 2023 and has responsibility for corporate communications and engagement. Suzie, who is a former journalist, has years of experience of leading communications in both the public and charity sector. Most recently she was Deputy Director of Communications and Engagement at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Suzie is passionate about staff engagement, honest and open communication, empowering teams to deliver continuous improvement and putting the patient at the heart of what we do.

 natasha chare

Natasha Chare, Group Chief Digital Information Officer 

Natasha is our Group Chief Digital Information Officer and 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.

Helen Ellis Interim Group Dir of Finance

Helen Ellis, Acting Group Chief Finance Officer

Helen joined Kettering and Northampton General Hospitals in October 2022 as Deputy Group Chief Finance Officer.

She is a qualified chartered management accountant with 25 years of NHS finance experience and has worked in various senior roles across a range of sectors including NHS England and commissioning organisations in Leicester and Northamptonshire having started her career in the NHS at Northampton General Hospital on the national graduate training scheme.



Dan Howard, Digital Director

Dan joined the NGH executive team as Digital Director in July 2021 and is responsible for digital services across NGH. Throughout his career, he has held senior leadership roles leading digital across many NHS Trusts and NHS sectors, including mental health, acute, community, specialist Trusts as well as a national role for an Arm's Length Body to the Department of Health and Social Care. Dan has a BEng in Software Engineering and a MSc in Science.

Dan is an advocate of excellent clinical engagement and has a keen interest in how digital, technology and data/analytics can support the pioneering transformation of clinical services locally, regionally and nationally. Dan also has experience in the third sector having chaired a national cycling charity helping improve the physical and mental health of millions of people.

Tracey Robson

Tracey Robson, Director of Human Resources

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 at this stage of her career 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.