Board of Directors

Our Board meets in public every month allowing members of staff, patients, the public and the media to attend our meetings and to retain full and effective control over our organisation.

As with all NHS boards, the Board of NCH&C comprises Executive Directors, Non-Executive Directors and a Chair. Together they share corporate responsibility for all of the Board's decisions.

In more detail, the role of our Board is to:

  • Be collectively responsible for adding value to the organisation, for promoting the success of the organisation by directing and supervising the organisation’s affairs
  • Provide active leadership of the organisation within a framework of prudent and effective controls which enable risk to be assessed and managed
  • Set the organisation’s strategic aims, ensure that the necessary financial and human resources are in place for the organisation to meet its objectives, and review management performance
  • Set the organisation’s values and standards and ensure that its obligations to patients, the local community and the Secretary of State are understood and met.

Stephen CollmanStephen Collman, Chief Executive

Stephen joined NCH&C as Chief Executive Officer in January 2022 from the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, where he had been Executive Director of Operations since 2018.

As well as operational leadership, Stephen has led strategic transformation programmes of work covering acute, community, mental health and learning disability services with the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). He was Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) lead for programmes of work including maternity and paediatrics, and was requested by the Integrated Care System (ICS) to lead system transformation on children in mental health crisis.

A registered Mental Health Nurse, Stephen previously worked as Chief Operating Officer at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, where he led community hospitals, community-based services, children’s services, mental health, and learning disabilities services. In both roles Stephen has led corporate portfolios that included estates, IT and HR.

Click here to listen to a spotlight podcast episode of Take a Moment with NCH&C

Lynda Thomas Lynda Thomas CBE, Chair

Lynda joined NCH&C in February 2023 from Macmillan Cancer Support, where she became the charity’s first female Chief Executive in March 2015. In her 20 years at Macmillan Lynda has worked in a range of roles supporting people living with cancer and securing ground-breaking reforms in cancer care, support and treatment. 

Lynda leads the sector as an advocate for cancer patients and is currently Chair of the NHS England Cancer Programme Charity Forum, on the board of the Richmond Group, a member of the NHSE National Cancer Board, NHS Assembly and the Cicely Saunders Institute Advisory Board, and is an independent board member for the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board. 

Laura Clear Laura Clear, Director of Community Health and Social Care Operations

Laura joined us in 2009 and has been a Board member since November 2018. She is a registered Physiotherapist having trained at the Royal London & Barts Trust and has worked in a variety of clinical roles across the health and social care environment and also has past experience at a regional level as Allied Health Professions lead. Laura has an MBA from the University of East Anglia and a PGC in executive and organisational coaching. Laura moved with her family to Norfolk in 2003 to work in Great Yarmouth and Waveney. Since joining NCH&C she has undertaken several operational roles.

Click here to listen to a spotlight podcast episode of Take a Moment with NCH&C. 

Carolyn FowlerCarolyn Fowler, Director of Nursing and Quality

Carolyn joined us in July 2019. Prior to this she led the safety agenda as Deputy Director of Safer Care and Standards at Hertfordshire Partnership University FT and was part of the team that achieved Outstanding for their CQC inspection earlier this year. Her background also includes being Deputy Director of Nursing for East and North Herts NHS Trust, working as a Macmillan Nurse and being Nurse Director for The Mount Vernon Cancer Network.

Click here to listen to a spotlight podcast episode of Take a Moment with NCH&C.

Venu Harilal Dr Venu Harilal, Medical Director

Venu has been our Medical Director since September 2017, joining the Trust in 2005 as a Consultant in the Colman Centre for Specialist Rehabilitation Services (CCSRS) and has been the Clinical Lead for the speciality since 2013. He did his medical and postgraduate training in India and joined the NHS in 1997. In 2000, he started the specialist training in Rehabilitation medicine in the Manchester deanery. His experience in building collaboration and communication with colleagues across patient pathways will inform his work in building safe and effective services, working across our Norfolk and Waveney system to ensure optimum pathways and clinically sustainable services for all who rely upon us. 

Click here to listen to a spotlight podcast episode of Take a Moment with NCH&C. 

Andrew Hopkins Andrew Hopkins, Director of Finance and Performance

Andrew joined us in March 2016. He has worked for the NHS for most of his career, including the last 20 years as an Executive Director. He has experience in acute, community, mental health and commissioning organisations, as well as working in the private sector with KPMG.  Andrew has held Board positions at Huntingdonshire Primary Care Trust and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

Liz Cooke Liz Cooke, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development

Liz trained as a nurse in Cambridge before moving into HR after obtaining her IPD qualifications in Surrey. She joined NCH&C in 2012, bringing a wealth of experience from her time working in human resources at James Paget Hospital.

As Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at NCH&C, Liz oversees the trust's HR Operations, HR Service Support, Workforce, eRostering, and Learning Education and Development (LEAD) teams.

Click here to listen to a spotlight podcast episode of Take a Moment with NCH&C

Mike Jones Mike Jones, Trust Secretary

Mike is a chartered governance professional and qualified company secretary. As Trust Secretary, Mike is responsible for the smooth operation of NCH&C’s decision-making, assurance processes and regulatory reporting and for the formal administration of its affairs. He provides independent and impartial advice and guidance on corporate governance and compliance to the Chair, Chief Executive, and the Board.

Graham Nice Graham Nice, Deputy Chair

Graham joined us in October 2018, bringing with him a wealth of NHS executive management and professional experience. After qualifying as a nurse at Addenbrookes Hospital, he specialised in Oncology and Palliative Care, working in the Royal Marsden and Hospices in Oxford and Cambridge. He has led operations, change and professional practice in most community services with most professional groups. Graham has an MBA with a particular interest in leadership development, coaching new and potential talent, and is passionate about enabling people to achieve their full potential.

Graham has held Executive Director positions in community NHS services, latterly in Cambridgeshire and Sussex, up until 2013, when he retired from full time work and concluded his nurse registration in 2016. He has been a Specialist Advisor for the Care Quality Commission since 2014 and regularly works on inspection teams in Acute, Mental Health, Community and Ambulance services.

Njoki Yaxley Njoki Yaxley, Non-Executive Director 

Njoki joined our Board in February 2020. She has a law degree and a Master’s in housing with a background in the social housing sector, specialising in governance, risk and project management. 

Andrew Williams Andrew Williams, Non-Executive Director

Andrew joined us in September 2017. His Non-Executive Director roles include Chair of the Charitable Funds Committee; Deputy Chair of the Finance and Performance Committee and Senior Independent Director. Andrew has been Deputy Chief Executive of a community and mental health NHS Trust in Peterborough and West Norfolk, a NHS PCT Chief Executive and Local Authority Director of Children's Services and Adult Social Services in East Yorkshire. He has also a worked as a Director of both NHS and Local Authority Care Partnerships in Herefordshire and London. He returned to Norfolk in 2014 as Chief Executive of Vida Healthcare GP Partnership. Andrew is currently active as a volunteer in the charity sector with Headway, which provided invaluable support to him and his family when he was involved in a collision with a car whilst riding his bicycle that caused a brain injury.

John Kennedy John Kennedy, Non-Executive Director

John returned to NCH&C’s Board as a Non-Executive Director in early 2022. He has experience across the public and private sector in core roles in finance, and has wider skills across, commercial, operations, and sales, where he has held positions including CEO and CFO.

With significant involvement on numerous Boards, and audit, risk, and remuneration committees, John has many years of knowledge in managing regulation, corporate governance and risk. He has driven large strategic initiatives, led strategic reviews and major change programmes, and led mergers and acquisitions and business turnarounds.

Steve Crowe Steve Crowe, Non-Executive Director

Steve joined us in October 2019. He has been a Chief Financial Officer and Senior Executive with a blend of front-line financial, commercial and strategic experience in both the private equity and blue-chip corporate environment, underpinned by a "Big 4" background. He is highly experienced in leading businesses in business strategy, M&A, planning and reporting as well as driving major commercial and business change decisions and execution. Has a first-class record of project delivery, building sustainable senior relationships and developing "high performance" teams within differing business environments.

Zaeem Haq Zaeem Haq - Associate Non-Executive Director

Zaeem has over 20 years experience working across numerous settings - from frontline service delivery to national and global leadership and management. He is currently Global Medical Director at Save the Children, providing strategic leadership and oversight on medical services in over 30 countries, ensuring policy and operational frameworks for quality assurance, risk management, regulatory compliance, technical excellence, and empowerment of program staff.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Zaeem led on staff health and wellbeing. He also led the development and roll-out of functional systems and processes, initiating strategic partnerships and collaboration with accredited institutions, and helping establish and co-chair the global Quality of Care working group alongside UNICEF and USAID.

Dr Sue Crossman - Associate Non-Executive Director

Dr Crossman has a wealth of experience working with the NHS in a variety of roles including clinical practice, education, research, and senior NHS management. She brings considerable experience of working in collaboration with health, social and education partners to meet the constantly changing requirements of the NHS system and the national regulators, balancing the need for local responsiveness with strong governance and accountability.