Executive Directors

Professor Stephen Eames CBE

Professor Stephen Eames CBE

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.
  • In 2019 Stephen awarded with an Honorary Professorship by University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)
  • In June 2019 Stephen awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honour's List recognising his contribution to the NHS

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 for CPFT & NCUH / System Clinical Lead / Professor of Primary Care UCLAN

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 & 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 25 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 in England.  Michael is passionate about ensuring high quality services are delivered in the most effective way and that leadership of our health and care system demonstrates the courage and ambition that matches the vitality and needs of our communities.

Michael grew up and now 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 and facilities 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 colleagues in the NHS in Cumbria.

Mandy Nagra

Mandy Nagra

System Executive Chief Operating Officer

Mandy was previously the delivery & improvement lead for NHS Improvement (NHSI) in Cumbria and the North East. She has been instrumental in improving patient flow across the system and embedding the first phase of integrated care communities. 

Prior to joining the Trust Mandy worked in the health and social care system for 24 years in a range of roles including clinical and managerial experience both nationally and regionally.  She brings a vast amount of experience from her work with NHS Improvement and NHS England where a key part of her role was to support north Cumbria. 

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.

Judith Toland

Judith Toland

Executive Director of People & Digital

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, including digital programmes in a number of sectors including government, health, education and private sector.  Some of her previous roles include Director of Business Transformation at Durham University, Director of Transformation NMC, Change Director/Director of Operations at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Agency and various change consultancy and interim Director roles.

Dr Vincent (Vince) Connolly

Dr Vincent (Vince) Connolly

System Medical Director

Dr Vincent Connolly, System Executive Medical Director, North Cumbria Integrated Health & Care System, 1 April 2019 on secondment pending substantive appointment, and Acute Physician at the James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough.

Medical Director North, NHS Improvement 2016-2019; President of the British Association of Ambulatory Emergency Care. Dr Connolly is currently Regional Medical Director (North) NHS Improvement.

Vince completed a doctorate on the Impact of social deprivation on diabetes, cardiovascular risk & mortality. He has published papers on diabetes epidemiology & ambulatory emergency care. Medical Director, Emergency Care Improvement Programme. Clinical Lead for the Emergency Care Intensive Support Team since 2010, was a Clinical Advisor to the Ambulatory Emergency Care Delivery Network. Chair of the North East SHA, Clinical Innovation Team for Acute Care.

Dr Connolly was a recipient of the Hospital Doctor Acute Medicine Team of the Year Award 2004.

Ramona Duguid

Ramona Duguid

System Executive Director of Strategy

Ramona Duguid was previously Director of Integration for CPFT and NCUH and has played a key role in establishing north Cumbria as one of the 14 nationally recognised systems for leading integration. Ramona has worked in a range of roles across the NHS over the last 20 years, including leading improvements in governance and quality within the acute sector in north Cumbria as part of the special measures process.   

Ramona was born in Cumbria and still lives in the county she is passionate about helping to improve and develop our health and care services, with our partners for the communities we serve.