The Board

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) has a legally constituted board made up of executive and non-executive members.

The board of directors sets strategic direction and then monitors performance and progress. The board is made up of non-executive directors who use the skill and experience gained from the private, public and voluntary sectors to help run the trust, but who do not have day-to-day managerial responsibilities within the Trust; and executive directors who are paid employees with clear areas of work responsibility within the Trust. The board is held to account by our council of governors which is made up of members of the public elected by you to represent your views.

Meetings and papers

Regular board meetings are held in public and in closed session.

  • Board papers will be published one week before the meeting
  • All meetings start at 10am.


Thursday, 25 January 2018

The Council Chamber
Sevenoaks Town Council Offices
Bradbourne Vale Road
Kent TN13 3QG

Thursday, 29 March 2018

The Oak Room
Oakwood House
Kent ME16 8AE

Thursday, 24 May 2018

The Committee Room
Tonbridge and Malling Council Offices
Gibson Building
Gibson Drive
Kings Hill
West Malling
Kent ME19 4LZ

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Room 6 and 7, Trinity House
110 – 120 Upper Pemberton
Eureka Park
Kent TN25 4AZ

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Room 6 and 7, Trinity House
110 – 120 Upper Pemberton
Eureka Park
Kent TN25 4AZ

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Room 6 and 7, Trinity House
110 – 120 Upper Pemberton
Eureka Park
Kent TN25 4AZ

For questions about board meeting papers please contact:

Natalie Davies
Corporate Services Director
01622 211900

Board Members

Chief Executive

Paul Bentley

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Prior to joining KCHFT as Chief Executive on 1 March, Paul was Director of Workforce and Communications at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust since 2011. He has worked in the NHS since 1987 and as an NHS Director since 1998 leading on strategy, organisational development and workforce and communications. During this time he was also interim Chief Executive in Surrey.

Paul undertook his graduate university education in the UK, before completing his post graduate education in the US.

He lives in South West London with his wife and has grown up children.

Non-executive Director

Jennifer Tippin

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Jen has extensive experience as a senior executive in a wide range of industries. Jen is the Group Customer Services Director for Lloyds Banking Group leading a team of more than 11,000 people across the Group to deliver outstanding customer service. Previously Jen was the Managing Director of Business Banking and a member of the Retail Executive Committee. She has a breadth of skills including leading major transformational change, improving customer service and achieving strong commercial results. She is also the Group Ambassador for the South East.

Non-executive Director

Bridget Skelton

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Bridget Skelton has 25 years’ experience as a senior executive and board member in organisations in the legal, financial, management consultancy, retail, public and voluntary sectors. She brings particular know how to effect business transformation, enhance performance and manage cultural development and change. Bridget lives in Otterden, Kent.

Non-executive director

Pippa Barber

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Pippa Barber has more than 30 years’ experience in the NHS. She spent the past 14 years in various Board roles, most recently as the executive director of nursing and governance at Kent and Medway Social Care Partnership Trust and executive nurse at NHS Medway.

Before this Pippa was director of clinical services at Canterbury and Coastal Primary Care Trust and the Kent and Medway Cardiac network director.

She is currently the independent nurse for a Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body in London, where she maintains an essential focus on clinical quality, safety and effectiveness.

Pippa, who has worked as a district nurse and lives in east Kent, is passionate about community services.

Non-executive Director

Peter Conway

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Peter has a professional background in banking and finance spanning 27 years, latterly as a finance director with Barclays Bank PLC. He now has a portfolio of primarily public sector roles and these include:

  • non-executive director and audit chair of the Rural Payments Agency
  • independent member of the Audit Committee of the Home Office
  • independent member of the Audit Committee of the Ministry of Justice
  • chairman of the Residents’ Scrutiny Panel of Moat Homes Ltd
  • trustee director of Tonbridge Citizens’ Advice Bureau

Previous roles include non-executive director and audit chair of NHS West Kent and independent member and audit committee roles with DEFRA, the Health and Safety Executive and the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.

Non-executive Director (Interim Chairman)

Richard Field

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Richard has a professional background in the manufacturing sector with large multi-national organisations, including Unilever and Dalgety. His career has involved sales and marketing, general management and running manufacturing businesses and multi-site operations. Mr Field has also worked in the animal feeds business and is now carrying out consultancy work with a large animal feeds manufacturing organisation. He is:

  • member of Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Audit and Risk Committee and Charitable Funds Committee
  • chairman of Age UK Canterbury
  • trustee of Age UK Sheppey
  • director of the Canterbury Academy
  • member and past president of the Canterbury Forest of Blean Rotary Club
  • former non-executive director of Eastern and Coastal Kent Community Services
  • former regional manager within a Unilever Agribusiness
  • former regional general manager of Dalgety Agriculture
  • former non-executive director of St Nicholas Court Farms Ltd.
Non-executive Director

Steve Howe CBE

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Steve served for 39 years in Royal Army Medical Corps having joined as a soldier but later undergoing training at the Royal military Academy Sandhurst. He went on to command medical regiments, field hospitals and medical groups on operations in the Balkans and Middle East. He has held strategic and operational medical planning appointments in the UK, US, Australia and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (NATO). He is:

  • chair of Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Quality Committee
  • chair Kent NHS/Armed Forces’ Forum
  • advisor to a large international consultancy firm who are undertaking a military medical transformation programme on behalf of a middle eastern client
  • former non-executive director of Eastern and Coastal Kent Community Services
  • former brigade commander (chief executive) of the army’s 11 deployable field hospitals
  • former Ministry of Defence (MOD) director of medical operations responsible for contingency planning and strategic oversight of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In this role he was also co-chair of the MOD/Department for Health (DH) Committee for Military-NHS Operational Co-operation and chair of a NATO Committee for Medical Standardisation.
  • a fellow of the Institute of Healthcare Managers
Chief Operating Officer

Lesley Strong

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Lesley trained as a general nurse in 1976 at Middlesex Hospital London and then pursued a clinical career in the community as a health visitor and district nurse. She moved into a management role in the community sector in 1988.

Lesley is:

  • former primary care trust director of nursing and operations, Mid Sussex 2001
  • former director of children’s services, West Sussex 2007
  • former chief operating officer, East Sussex 2008
  • former managing director, Greenwich Community Health Services 2011.
Medical Director

Sarah Phillips

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Sarah is a GP at Newton Place Surgery in Faversham, Kent.

Prior to joining Kent Community Health as the Medical Director, Sarah was Clinical Chair of Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group and Chair of East Kent Strategy Board. The Board, now known as the East Kent Programme Board, has been set up by local health and care commissioners to spearhead the drive to determine how best to provide health and care services to the population of east Kent. Its work is part of the wider Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Kent and Medway.

Sarah’s work on the Board included reviewing issues around staff retention, the use of technology, buildings and estates, and clinical pathways such as maternity, paediatrics, end-of-life care and mental health.

Until April 2017, Sarah was also Commissioner Co-Chair of Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Clinical Board, which was set up to ensure the NHS future plans meet the health and social care needs of the communities it serves.

Sarah lives in east Kent with her husband and two children. She is also a keen tennis player.

Executive Director of Finance

Gordon Flack

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Gordon is a fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (FCCA) and has a professional background in NHS finance spanning 33 years. Following an early career with health authorities, his director experience is with acute and community trusts and has been at the trust since 2011.

His responsibilities include financial management and control, capital and audit, IM&T, business development and service improvement, as well as performance and business intelligence.

Gordon lives in Essex with his wife and two sons and is keen on gliding and sailing.

Chief Nurse

Ali Carruth

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Ali had been deputy nursing director at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust. Before that she was at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead for two years, also as deputy nursing director. Ali was selected by Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings to be clinical lead in the national Ebola team at NHS England. Ali started training in 1991 as a general nurse in London and qualified in 1994. In 2003, she trained as a mental health nurse in Bristol.

In her spare time, Ali, who lives in West Sussex, likes to run – she ran the Brighton marathon in aid of the charity Mind in 2014. She also likes and used to be a semi-professional singer, having sung with Brighton Festival Chorus in a number of concerts, including the Proms.

Director of Workforce, Organisation Development and Communications

Louise Norris

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Louise has more than 30 years’ experience in NHS Human Resources and joins us from Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.

She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

She has an MBA and an MA in Strategic Human Resources. She is a management side representative on the NHS Staff Council.

Louise lives with her husband in West Malling.

Corporate Services Director

Natalie Davies

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Natalie has worked within the NHS in both acute and community settings for over 10 years. As the Company Secretary, Natalie has a strong background in corporate governance and worked with the board for a number of years before undertaking the role of Corporate Services Director in 2015.

Natalie has primary responsibility for a number of areas, including Estates, Legal and Risk, IG, and Soft Facilities Management.

In addition to spending time with her husband and children, Natalie has a number of hobbies including working with local acting groups.

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