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Meet our Board

Last updated: 01/04/2020

The Trust Board has overall corporate responsibility for the running of the organisation.  The main role of the Trust Board is to guide the overall strategic direction of University Hospitals Bristol and Weston (UHBW) NHS Foundation Trust including planning for our current challenges and future priorities - ensuring that we can set and meet our objectives. 

The Board is made up of directors, including the chief executive, who are full time senior staff, together with an independent lay chair and non-executive directors who hold part-time positions.

The executive directors bring expertise from their positions in key areas of the Trust, while the chair and non-executive directors offer their skills and experience from a wide variety of roles in the community.


The key committees and groups that feed into Board can be seen here.

Board committee terms of references

For resources such as the Trust annual report, please visit the reports and publications page.

Following the merger of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and Weston Area Health NHS Trust, the University Hospitals Bristol Board members below now lead the merged organisation, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW). The start dates below are for University Hospitals Bristol, prior to merger.

Chair and chief executive +

Interim Chair: Jayne Mee MStJ

image of Jayne MeeJayne has spent more than 30 years in human resources and organisational development, working in executive roles with the Boots Company, Whitbread, Royal Mail, Punch Taverns and Barratt Developments. Until June 2015 she was director of people and organisation development at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Jayne runs executive coaching consultancy Calabash Ltd where she supports executives and organisations in culture change, engagement and transformation in a wide variety of private and public sector businesses. She is a non-executive director at London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, and a trustee at St John Ambulance and a Member of the Order of St John. Jayne is also HR counsel at private equity backed restaurant chain Prezzo.

Jayne holds an MSc in human resource development from Nottingham Trent University, a certificate in coaching from Henley Management College and is a Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development.

  • Start date: 1 June 2019
  • Declared interests: Non-executive director at London Ambulance Service NHS Trust; a Trustee at St John Ambulance and a Member of the Order of St John 

Chief executive: Robert Woolley

image of Robert Woolley

Robert was appointed chief executive of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust in 2010, having served on the Trust Board since 2002. In 2019, the Trust became only the third general acute provider in England to be rated Outstanding twice by the Care Quality Commission in successive inspections. He also held the chief executive post at Weston Area Health NHS Trust from 2019, in anticipation of the merger of the two Trusts.

Before becoming chief executive, Robert was director of performance management at United Bristol Healthcare Trust, and took the strategy director portfolio there in 2005, leading the creation of the 10 year plan which committed £200 million of strategic investment. He was project director for the Trust’s successful application for Foundation status in 2008. Before moving to Bristol, he spent nine years at Barts and the London NHS Trust in a range of planning and operational roles.

Robert is co-executive lead for Healthier Together, the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership for the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire health and care system.

He holds an English degree from Lincoln College, Oxford, an MBA with distinction from the University of Bath and an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of the West of England (Bristol).

  • Start date: 2 January 2002 (8 December 2010 as chief executive)
  • Declared interests:  Member of Board of West of England Academic Health Science Network

Executive directors +

Deputy chief executive and chief operating officer: Dr Mark Smith

image of Dr Mark Smith

Mark practiced as a GP until he became the deputy medical director for the North East Strategic Health Authority. Whilst in the role he worked with organisations in the North East to develop commissioning, clinical engagement and the NETs programme which utilised quality improvement methodology to improve patient care. He has worked on several national committees and the High Quality Care for All Strategy whilst on secondment to the Department of Health. He has a wide experience in heath informatics including working with the national programme for IT and developing one of the first national e-referral systems for cancer patients.

Mark has held several chief operating officer roles including City Hospitals Foundation Trust, Leeds University Teaching Hospital and Brighton and Sussex University Teaching Hospital.

  • Start date: 13 February 2017
  • Declared interests: None

Medical director: Dr William Oldfield MSc PhD FRCP

image of Dr William OldfieldAfter undertaking studies in pharmacology, and subsequently human and applied physiology, Bill studied medicine, before entering the North-West Thames Training Programme in general and respiratory medicine.

During this time, he was awarded a Ph.D. Degree from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College, London, and gained sub-specialty experience in both allergy and critical care medicine.

He was appointed as consultant in respiratory medicine to St Mary's Hospital, London, and the Royal Brompton Hospital in 2003, and subsequently developed clinical interests in high dependency medicine and pulmonary embolic disease.

He has held a variety of clinical management positions at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust including lead clinician, chief of service, deputy medical director and interim medical director.

  • Start date: 1 August 2018
  • Declared interests: None

Chief nurse: Deirdre Fowler

Deirdre Fowler

Deirdre is an experienced nurse and midwife whose career in healthcare now spans over 30 years. Deirdre has worked in community, acute and academic sectors. She has held positions in senior midwifery leadership and commenced her first executive nurse post in 2013. Deirdre has worked at senior level in a range of organisations, more recently at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the North East.

  • Start date: 18 January 2021
  • Declared interests: None

Interim Director of people: Alex Nestor

Director of strategy and transformation: Paula Clarke

image of Paula Clarke

Paula joined the NHS as a general management trainee and over the last 30 years has held senior manager posts in commissioning, provider and primary care organisations, working predominantly in the integrated health and social care system in Northern Ireland. Paula has over 12 years' experience at Board level, including serving as the interim chief executive of Southern Health and Social Care Trust in 2015/16.

Paula has extensive experience in integrated care delivery, strategic planning, continuous improvement, partnership working and service transformation programmes.

  • Start date: 1 April 2016
  • Declared interests: None

Director of finance and information: Neil Kemsley

image of Neil KemsleyNeil trained and qualified at UH Bristol before leaving in 1998 to progress his career through the finance ranks at University College London hospitals, Kings and then Portsmouth.

Neil has over 12 years' experience as a Board director working across the provider, commissioning and regulatory sectors of the NHS.

More recently he spent three-and-a-half years at University Hospitals Plymouth before returning to Bristol.

  • Start date: 1 July 2019
  • Declared interests: Brother-in-law is partner at the Bristol office of PWC. He has no direct involvement in the public sector.

Non-executive directors +

Non-executive director: Dr Julian Dennis

image of Julian DennisA company director and public health scientist, Julian worked for the Public Health Laboratory Service at Porton Down before joining Thames Water. He was appointed a director of United Kingdom Water Industry Research Limited in 2003 before joining the board of Wessex Water as director of environment and science in 2004. He is also an adviser to The Quality and Environment committee of Welsh Water.

Julian chairs the Quality and Outcomes Committee and is the Senior Independent Director (SID) on the Board.

  • Start date: 1 June 2014
  • Declared interests: Independent Advisor to the Quality and Environment Committee, Welsh Water

Non-executive director: Martin Sykes

image of Martin SykesMartin studied chemistry at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, where he obtained a PhD and spent a number of years working in post-doctoral research. He later qualified as an accountant and joined the NHS in 1995. Martin worked most recently at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust as finance director and deputy chief executive. Within the NHS Martin has also held executive responsibility for procurement; information management and technology; information governance; contracting; and strategy.

Martin is chair of the Finance Committee and vice chair of the Board.

  • Start date: 4 September 2017
  • Declared interests: None

Non-executive director: David Armstrong

image of David ArmstrongAfter graduating from Southampton University in 1980 with First Class Honours in Mathematics and its Applications, David initially worked in the banking sector before taking up a position as a systems engineer with GEC-Marconi in 1983.

During the early part of his career he worked internationally, both in project management and function management roles. In 1999 he was appointed as business improvement, IT and quality director at Alenia Marconi Systems Ltd and since that time has held Board level positions in a number of GEC-Marconi and BAE Systems businesses, usually with responsibility for governance, risk, assurance and improvement.

During his career David has also served on a number of policy making committees including Engineering UK's Business and Industry Panel and as a trustee of the Chartered Quality Institute.

In 2014 David left the aerospace and defence sector to pursue interim and non-executive director roles, including a secondment as "head of profession" at the Chartered Quality Institute, where he was responsible for developing the quality profession, both within industry and the academic sector and also through development of its individual members.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Quality Institute and a Chartered Quality Professional, and was a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology from 2005-2019.

David is chair of the Audit Committee.

  • Start date: 28 November 2013
  • Declared interests: None

Non-executive director: Bernard Galton

Bernard GaltonBernard has had a long and successful Civil Service career with 28 years in the Ministry of Defence, and 10 years in the Welsh Government. He retired in 2014 from his role as director general.

With more than 20 years executive Board experience he has complemented this with non-executive directorships in the Royal National Mineral Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases Foundation Trust, Capita Property Services in Wales, and he is currently a non-executive director of the Board of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. Whilst in the Welsh Government Bernard led a large corporate services department spanning human resources, learning and development, information services, property, facilities, health and safety and security.

He was head of profession for human resources and organisation development for all Public Service organisations in Wales, and also worked at the highest level in NHS Wales gaining an understanding of the key strategic issues facing health and social care services.

He is a Chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and lives in Bath.

Bernard is chair of the People Committee.

  • Start date: 1 July 2019
  • Declared interests: Non-executive director, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

Non-executive director: Professor Steven West CBE, DL

image of Steven WestSteve took up the post of Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of the West of England Bristol in 2008.

Steve trained as a podiatrist and podiatric surgeon in London and developed his research interests in lower limb biomechanics and the diabetic foot at King's College London. He worked as a clinician and clinical tutor in the NHS, university sector and undertook research and consultancy in industry and the retail healthcare sectors.

He holds a number of national and international advisory appointments in higher education and in his clinical discipline, healthcare policy and practice. He is non-executive director for the Office for Students and chair of the UUK Mental Health in Higher Education Working Group. He is also a member of both the Education and the Diversity Honours Committees.

He is chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and chair of the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN).

Steve is a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Gloucestershire and was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year's Honours list 2017, for services to higher education.

  • Start date: 3 July 2017
  • Declared interests: Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England, Bristol

    Non-executive director: Sue Balcombe

    image of Sue BalcombeSue is a registered nurse with more than 35 years' experience within the NHS and significant NHS Board experience at an Executive level. In 2005 she was director of nursing at Taunton Deane Primary Care Trust, followed by chief nurse at Somerset Community Health. Following a merger and acquisition in 2015, she became chief nurse at Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, bringing together community and mental health services within an integrated trust.

    Sue has extensive and varied clinical experience, principally in urgent and emergency care and community care, assuming leadership roles in each. She brings significant experience in service integration and system redesign, having played a clinical leadership role within Somerset Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), prior to her retirement in 2018. 

    Prior to joining the Board, Sue was an non-executive director at Weston Area Health Trust, and a non-executive director (designate) at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.

    • Start date: 1 April 2020
    • Declared interests: None

    Non-executive director: Professor Jane Norman

    Jane Norman

    Professor Jane Norman has been Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Bristol since June 2019. She was the academic lead for diversity and inclusion at the University of Edinburgh and in addition, she was a Non-Executive Director of the Equality Challenge Unit from 2014 until it was absorbed into Advance HE in 2018. She has held executive roles in many other organisations, including the Academy of Medical Sciences and (currently) the Medical Schools Council. She has a strong background in health research, spanning the full range of research activity, from discovery (basic laboratory and preclinical studies) through early phase clinical trials to phase III/IV studies and analysis of large epidemiological datasets. She has over 250 peer reviewed publications. She also has 35 years’ experience as a hospital clinician in obstetrics and gynaecology.

    • Start date: 1 March 2021
    • Declared interests: Employee at University of Bristol