Your Trust Board

The Trust Board is made up of Non-Executive and Executive Directors who together are responsible for leading Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. The Trust Board meets in public eleven times a year and anyone is welcome to attend. The Chair of the Trust Board is appointed by NHS Improvement and the Chair works with this organisation to appoint other members of the Trust Board.

Join us for our Trust Board In Public on Thursday 1st April 09:45 – 14:30 by following this link:

We welcome questions from members of the public on any matter being considered by the Board. Written questions can be submitted to the Company Secretary up to 5pm on the working day prior to the Board meeting (email Any such questions will be read out by the Chairwoman and a written response provided after the meeting – both will be reported in the minutes. Questions can also be submitted during the meeting using the Q&A function on TeamsLive. The protocol for public questions is listed on the agenda.

Watch our previous Board Meeting in Public

Trust Board Meeting Dates

Venues and times of Board meetings are all subject to amendment so, before attending a Board meeting, please check on the Trust’s website to ensure the date and/or venue has not changed or telephone 01872 256343.

All Trust board meeting will take place in the Knowledge Spa, unless otherwise stated.

All Trust Board meetings in Public will commence at 10:00 unless otherwise specified.


  • Thursday 7 January 2021 This meeting will be held live via Microsoft Teams. Please use this link to join in: link:
  • Thursday 4 February 2021 This meeting will be held live via Microsoft Teams. Please use this link to join in: link:
  • Thursday 4 March 2021 This meeting will be held live via Microsoft Teams. Please use this link to join in: link:
  • Thursday 1 April 2021 This meeting will be held live via Microsoft Teams. Please use this link to join in: link:
  • Thursday 6 May 2021
  • Thursday 3 June 2021
  • Thursday 1 July 2021
  • Thursday 2 September 2021
  • Thursday 7 October 2021
  • Thursday 4 November 2021
  • Thursday 2 December 2021


  • Thursday 6 January 2022
  • Thursday 3 February 2022
  • Thursday 3 March 2022

Members of the Public that wish to raise a question ahead of the Trust Board meeting please email

Members of the Public will be asked whether they wish to raise a question prior to the start of the meeting by a member of the Corporate Secretariat and these will be recorded and provided to the Chairman of the Trust Board. The Chairman of the Trust Board may permit an oral question to be asked at the end of the meeting of the Trust Board without notice having been given.

Trust Board and Staff Members Declarations of Interest

“Trust Board Members Declarations of Interest are reported to every Trust Board meeting. A copy of the latest Declaration can be found with the Board meeting papers. The Trust also publishes the Register of Interests and Register of Gifts, Hospitality and Sponsorship for Trust staff, in line with our Gifts, Hospitality, Sponsorship and Declarations of Interests Policy.

Executive members
Kate Shields

Kate Shields – Chief Executive

Voting Member

Kate joined the Trust as Deputy Chief Executive in 2017 and took on the role of Chief Executive in July 2018. Kate is an experienced NHS leader having worked as Director of Strategy and Partnerships at University Hospitals Leicester. She was a registered nurse and mental health nurse at the beginning of her NHS career. Kate has also worked for NHS England as a Regional Director of Specialised Commissioning and as the National Head of Specialised Commissioning.


Bernadette George – Director of Integrated Governance

Bernadette joined RCHT in June 2018 having previously been Head of Safety Risk and Patient Experience at Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

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She was instrumental in the development of RCHT’s ward accreditation programme – ASPIRE – and brings extensive experience of working in the hospital and health care industry, including change management, quality improvement, patient safety and performance management.

Kim O’Keeffe – Director of Nursing, Midwifery & Allied Health Professions

Voting Member

Kim is a passionate and highly visible professional leader, with extensive strategic and operational experience at a senior management level, gained across different health care systems both here in the UK and South Africa.

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She began nurse training at Addington Hospital, a large provincial hospital in Durban, South Africa in 1981 and went on to complete her mental health training at Townhill Hospital in Pietermarizberg, Natal South Africa.

Kim returned to the UK in 1999 undertaking various roles within the Dudley Group of Hospitals and went on to complete her MSc Professional Health Care Studies at Wolverhampton University in 2006.

Kim is passionate about non-medical work force development / leadership and engendering a ‘just culture’ work place climate. Evidenced based practice ensures patients receive patient centred quality care and this is further supported by Kim’s role as an Honorary Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Plymouth.
Kim took on her joint role with CFT in late 2019 and since May 2020 is also Deputy Chief Executive at RCHT.


Susan Bracefield – Director of Operations

Susan took on the role of Director of Operations in February 2019 and was appointed substantively in April 2019. She was formerly the Deputy Director of Operations, having joined RCHT in March 2018.

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A nurse by background, Susan has broad experience of leadership roles in primary and secondary care providers as well as with NHS England. Her Chief Operating Officer role was confirmed in May 2020.

Dr Allister Grant – Medical Director

Voting Member

Allister joined the Trust on 1 November 2019 and brings his experience in medical management, governance and quality, as well as extensive working with health and care partners and patient groups. As well as being part of the RCHT Board, Allister will also be part of our clinical team working alongside colleagues in Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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A Consultant Hepatologist by background, Allister joined the Trust following an appointment at University Hospitals of Leicester where he spent 5 years as Head of the Liver and Gastro-intestinal Unit; a service he has helped develop since joining as the hospitals’ first hepatologist 15 years ago. Allister was also the Clinical Director/Medical Director for the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland NHS Alliance – a novel partnership of providers and commissioners in Leicestershire with a remit to transform services and deliver care closer to home for Leicestershire patients.

Kelvyn Hipperson – Joint Chief Information Officer (RCHT +CFT)

Kelvyn Hipperson joined the RCHT Board in Jan 2019 taking on a dual role as Chief Information Officer across RCHT and Cornwall Partnership Foundation NHS Trust.

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wKelvyn worked in senior technology delivery roles in both the private sector and civil service prior to joining the NHS and is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering & Technology and Member of the British Computer Society.

Thom Lafferty – Director of Strategy & Performance

Voting Member

Thomas was appointed Director of Strategy & Performance in October 2018 having joined the Trust as Director of Corporate Affairs in January 2017. He was previously Director of Corporate and Legal Affairs at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

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Prior to that, Thomas has held similar roles at other NHS Acute Trusts and has developed an expertise with regard to legal and governance matters within healthcare.

Kerry Eldridge – Director of People & Organisational Development

Kerry joined RCHT in September 2018. Kerry is an experienced NHS leader and was previously the Director of Workforce for East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust. Kerry has experience in organisational change, staff engagement, quality and financial transformation.

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She joined the NHS in 2001 and has worked in a variety of HR roles within different NHS providers including acute, health and social care partnership, community, commissioning and mental health trusts.

Karen Kay, Director for Urgent and Emergency Care (System)

A substantive director of commissioning with NHS Kernow CCG, Karen has been operating as Director for Urgent & Emergency Care on behalf of the whole system since 2017.

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This system director post is now hosted by RCHT and Karen is an associate member of the RCHT Board as part of our move towards an increasingly integrated care system.

Prior to moving into NHS commissioning in Devon and Cornwall in 2009, Karen worked for 25 years in local government; spending 20 years working with vulnerable families and adults, homeless people, asylum seekers and refugees; qualifying with a BA in Housing and Urban Studies in 2000. Karen then moved on to senior management roles in Neighbourhood Regeneration, local strategic partnership; customer care and business and service planning

Karl Simkins, Director of Finance

Karl Simkins, Director of Finance

Karl Simkins, is an experienced Executive joining the Trust in July 2010, having previously undertaken senior finance and Director of Finance roles in Commissioning and Provider organisations across the West and East Midlands.

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Before joining the Trust Karl was Director of Finance at NHS Leicester County and Rutland – one of the largest Primary Care Trusts in the country at that time. Karl has more recently been on secondment as our Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Health & Care Partnership System Director of Finance before returning directly to the Trust in April as Strategic Financial Advisor and now resuming his substantive role as at December 2020.
Non-executive members

Dr Mairi McLean – Chairwoman

Mairi has been a non-executive director since 2014. She has a background in social work, psychology and leadership and has held senior positions in local government and is a former Council Chief Executive Officer.

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Paul Hobson

Paul joined the Trust Board in February 2016. Paul is the Chief Executive of the CSW Group which is owned by the local authorities in Cornwall and Devon.

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CSW provide a range of services and products, supporting people and businesses across the South and West. Paul has held senior director posts for over 30 years in the public and private sector having started his clinical career as a radiographer in his native Cornwall.

Sarah Pryce

Sarah is a former Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and is a former Trustee and Chair of Cornwall Air Ambulance. She joined the Trust Board in February 2016 and

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currently owns her own consultancy company specialising in leadership and organisational development.

Richard Smith – Associate Non-Executive Director

Non Voting Member

Richard joined the Board as an in March 2019. He is inaugural Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for the University of Exeter Medical School, and Professor of Health Economics.

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He was previously at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where he served as Head of the Department of Global Health & Development from 2008-2011, and as Dean of the Faculty of Public Health & Policy from 2011-2018.

Sarah Newton – Non-Executive Director

Voting Member

Sarah joined the Trust in March 2020 and has extensive experience in the public, business and voluntary sectors. She has held several leadership and change management roles, most recently…

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as an elected Member of Parliament and Minister at the Department for Work and Pensions and the Home Office.

Sarah has 30 years’ experience of strategic planning, reputation management, innovation with a focus on sustainability and inclusion.

Sarah was the Director of the ILC -UK a ‘think and do’ tank tackling demographic change and Director with responsibility for fundraising and marketing at Age Concern – now Age UK. Sarah also has 10 years’ experience in financial services, as Marketing and New Business Development Directors for American Express Europe, at Citibank and on the Board of Age Concern Enterprises.


Richard Stephenson – Non-Executive Director

Voting Member

Having started his career as a physiotherapist, Richard spent over 30 years in higher education holding executive leadership positions as Dean of Faculty (Health) in two institutions, pro vice-chancellor, and then…

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as deputy vice-chancellor at both the universities of Plymouth and Salford. He has held a number of director and trustee roles, and served several national and regional bodies. He joined the Trust as Non-Executive director in February 2020 and is Emeritus Professor at the University of Salford.

Ruth Allarton – Associate Non-Executive Director

Non Voting Member

Ruth joined the RCHT Board in October 2018. Having been a regular visitor to Cornwall all her life, Ruth Allarton has held roles as Head of Department of Allied Health Professions at Sheffield Hallam University since 2009 and Partner Governor at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust since 2012.

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More recently Ruth held an Associate Non-Executive role where she has used her allied health professions knowledge to bring an additional perspective to decision making and strategic planning.

Adam Broome – Non – Executive Director

Voting Member

Adam Broome re-joined the Board in November 2020, having previously been a Non-Executive Director from 2014 to 2016. Adam has extensive experience at a strategic level across the public sector having been a Director for Plymouth City Council and for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and an Associate Director for…

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the Audit Commission. He is at present self-employed, currently providing coaching and training and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), currently sitting on the CIPFA South West Council.