Executive Directors

Stephen Eames

Stephen Eames

Chief Executive

Appointed: September 2017


  • Public service leader with 25 years' experience as a Chief Executive.
  • In 2012, Stephen was drafted in to Mid Yorkshire Hospitals where he spent 3 years overseeing major changes and improvements to services.
  • Before this, Stephen was CEO of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust where he successfully led a substantial multi-site hospital reconfiguration, secured a major acquisition of community services and ensured sound clinical and financial performance.
  • In 2007 Stephen was awarded public service turnaround leader of the year by the Society of Turnaround professionals.
  • In 2013 Stephen was awarded 'Turnaround performance of the year' by the Management Consultants Association for his work in Mid Yorkshire.
  • Stephen has a wealth of experience in top level leadership activities and in partnership working with NHS Institutions, Local Authorities, the private sector and a variety of other agencies.
  • Stephen has worked in a coaching capacity as a consultant for the NHS Performance Support Unit and the Leaders UK programme sponsored by the National School of Government.

Professional Qualifications:

  • Advanced Diploma in Senior Executive Coaching for the Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring.
  • Degree in Professional Coaching Practice from Middlesex University.

You can read Stephen's CEO Blog here. 


Professor John Howarth MBBS, DTM&H, FRCGP, FFPH

Professor John Howarth MBBS, DTM&H, FRCGP, FFPH

Deputy CEO / Executive Director of Strategy

John's post covers Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust.

John was a GP in Cockermouth for 24 years. He was Clinical Director for community services and elderly care lead for NHS Cumbria. Prior to this he spent 7 years as medical director of Cumbria's GP out of hours cooperative, chaired the primary care research group and was a GP trainer for over 10 years. He was medical adviser to the local hospice at home charity and co-authored a textbook in Palliative Care.

During the 1990s he trained in tropical medicine and worked in 11 different wars and natural disasters. He became medical director and head of operations of an international disaster relief charity. In 2010 he was a runner up in the national NHS Leadership Awards from over 1000 entries. In 2011 he received a Fellowship in Public Health through distinction and in 2013 he received a Fellowship to the Royal College of General Practitioners.


Michael Smillie BSc (Hons) CPFA

Michael Smillie BSc (Hons) CPFA

Executive Director of Finance, Digital & Estates

Michael's role covers North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Michael joined the Trust in January 2007 and has over 23 years experience working in the NHS. He has held posts as the Director of Finance, Director of Commissioning and Director of Business Development in both commissioning and provider organisations. 

Michael lives in Cumbria and leads on financial stewardship and forward planning for the Trust and is working with our partners to improve the health and care system overall. Michael also leads on ensuring the Trust’s estate, facilities and information management and technology are all fit for purpose and developed to support clinical care effectively.


Alison Smith

Alison Smith

Executive Chief Nurse

Alison's post covers North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Alison has been a registered nurse for 34 years and has worked in a variety of clinical, managerial and educational roles.

Alison worked at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for a signficant part of her career including as assistant director of nursing and children’s lead.

After leaving South Tees, Alison then spent the next five years working in wider health system roles as deputy director of nursing & quality at NHS England for the North East & Cumbria then as senior clinical lead at NHS Improvement, taking the lead role for the quality agenda.

In both of her roles with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Alison has worked closely with colleauges in the NHS in Cumbria.

Mandy Nagra

Mandy Nagra

Interim Executive Chief Operating Officer

Mandy has joined us on an interim basis  as chief operating officer across Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and brings with her a wealth of experience from her previous roles.

Mandy was previously the delivery & improvement lead for NHS Improvement (NHSI) in Cumbria and the North East.

Gary O’Hare

Gary O’Hare

Interim Executive Director of Mental Health & Learning Disabilities

Gary is a Mental Health Nurse and is currently the Interim Executive Director of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust on a part time basis.  He is also Executive Director of Nursing and Chief Operating Officer at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

Gary has worked in the NHS for over 36 years, and held a number of senior nursing and managerial positions during this time.  He has been an Executive Director of Nursing and Safer Care at Northumberland, Tyne & Wear for 16 years and for the last 10 years he has also been the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer.  He has been involved in two complex mergers and led Operational Services through the Trust’s CQC Comprehensive Inspection, achieving a rating of “outstanding”.

Gary spent four years at the Department of Health advising ministers and senior civil servants, working across both the policy and delivery arms of the DoH as well as working for the National Patient Safety Agency. He led a number of national initiatives during his time in this role.

He is a CQC Executive Reviewer for Well Led Inspections, a member of the National Mental Health Nurse Directors Steering Group and a member of the NHSI Clinical Reference Group.

Dr Rod Harpin

Dr Rod Harpin

Interim Executive Medical Director

Rod's post covers North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Rod has previously practiced medicine in Northland, New Zealand providing Anaesthesia, Intensive Care and multiple roles in Medical Administration.

He has led four major projects in perioperative design, rapid response system for patient deterioration, major information system changeover and house surgeon handover.

He has spent many years in Service Management and as a Clinical Director, leading groups of elective and acute services as well as diagnostics.

Judith Toland

Judith Toland

Executive Director of Workforce & Organisational Development

Judith joined in November 2018 and her post covers North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the wider North Cumbria Health and Care system.

She has extensive experience in human resources, organisational development and transformation projects in a number of sectors including health, education and private sector.  Some of her previous posts include Director of Business Transformation at Durham University, Change Director/Director of Operations at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Agency and a Business Change Consultant at British Airways.