Executive Recruitment

Our Board

Non-Executive Directors

John Goulston - Chair

John Goulston is the chairman of  the Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust.

He is a father-of-three, from Beckenham, who has a wealth of experience working as a chief executive of both acute and community health providers. He has been an executive director of NHS London, the strategic health authority for London, plus director of finance at two London teaching hospitals during his career.

During his time at Croydon, he led a transformation of the trust’s services, overseeing quality improvements and steering the trust out of financial special measures. He was also instrumental in empowering frontline staff to make the changes they wanted to improve care standards.

John helped establish the One Croydon Alliance, a 10-year agreement to integrate services across health and social care for all. Aimed at increasing partnership working between Croydon’s NHS, GPs, the local authority and the voluntary sector in the borough, the alliance seeks to give people greater control of their health and choice of services.

Much of his early career was in Kent, working in Maidstone during the 80s.

John’s daughter is a doctor and his wife is a community physiotherapist.

Bridget Skelton

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 rural Kent.

Pippa Barber

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.

Peter Conway

Peter has a professional background in banking and finance spanning 27 years, latterly as a finance director with Barclays Bank PLC. He has been a Non-Executive Director with the NHS since 2006. He has held a portfolio of public sector roles including:

Non-Executive Director and Audit Chair, Rural Payments Agency, Non-Executive Director and Audit Chair, NHS West Kent, Independent Member of the Audit Committees of the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, DEFRA, Health and Safety Executive and Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, Trustee Director, Citizens Advice North and West Kent.

Francis Drobniewski

Professor Francis Drobniewski divides his time between clinical practice, education and research. He is Professor of Global Health and Tuberculosis at Imperial College, London, a Consultant Medical Microbiologist and was a tuberculosis physician. He has worked in Europe, USA and Africa, and was Director of the public health UK National TB Laboratory for 19 years.  Francis is clinical TB adviser for NICE and an adviser to the WHO.

Having spent 20 years as a consultant, Francis is keen to do more in the strategic development of health services. He has worked alongside public health and worked with community services and believes in keeping people out of hospital wherever possible.

Paul Butler

Paul is a chartered accountant with extensive management, financial and regulatory experience

For the last 19 years Paul has been Managing Director of Mid Kent Water and South East Water – a role he is retiring from in July 2020.

Previously, Paul worked as Group Financial Controller of Mid Kent Water and he has been a non-executive director of Water UK, the water industry trade body and Chairman of UKWIR, a research organisation for the water sector.

Sola Afuape

Sola has 20 years’ experience advising, designing and implementing national, regional and local public sector programmes most notably delivering health inequalities and service improvements. She has been a chair of a national charity tackling social and health inequalities with a particular focus on mental health, for which she was awarded an MBE.

In the early part of her career, she held a number of advisory roles and worked across the Department of Health, Public Health England, Standing Commissioning on Carers and the Arts and more recently across a collaboration of CCGs as a lay advisor in integrated care and transformational workforce and organisation development.

She runs her own consultancy specialising in strategy, organisational development and equalities and conducting independent reviews, is a special advisor for the Care Quality Commission and independent member of HMRC’s London Advisory Committee. Sola has a deep passion for the wellbeing of patients, their families and carers, staff and citizen voice, co- production and systems leadership.

Executive Directors

Paul Bentley - Chief Executive

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.

Pauline Butterworth - Chief Operating Officer

Pauline, who is originally from Carnoustie, Scotland, joins the trust from East Sussex Healthcare Trust where she has been deputy chief operating officer since 2013.

During that time that she was also programme director for transformation of urgent care at Hastings and Rother and Eastbourne and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group.

A trained clinician, Pauline worked as a therapist and manager in the USA and in paediatrics in Australia, before returning to the UK. She moved to work in the NHS in 2008 and has worked across a breadth of services, including mental health, community, acute and commissioning, as well as social care.

Dr Sarah Phillips - Medical Director

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 Canterbury with her two children. She is also a keen tennis player.

Gordon Flack - Executive Director of Finance and Deputy Chief Executive

Gordon is a fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (FCCA) and has a professional background in NHS finance spanning 34 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.

Dr Mercia Spare - Chief Nurse

Mercia has considerable experience and describes herself as a ‘passionate champion of the NHS and the values it embodies’.

During her career Mercia has delivered a number of senior leadership roles within the NHS at both an operational and strategic level.

She has worked for a number of provider organisations including University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, as well as the Department of Health, the Trust Development Authority and NHS Improvement.

Mercia trained as a general nurse and then specialised in cardio-thoracic nursing before gaining a BSc Honours in applied and human biology and a PhD clinical research degree.

Louise Norris -Director of Workforce, Organisation Development and Communications

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.

Natalie Davies - Corporate Services Director

Natalie has worked within the NHS in both acute and community settings for over 20 years. As the Corporate Services Director, Natalie has a strong background in corporate governance, risk management and compliance. Natalie has primary responsibility for a number of areas, including Estates, Facilities, Legal, Risk and compliance.

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

Gerard Sammon - Director of Strategy and Partnerships

Before joining KCHFT on secondment Gerard has experience of working for more than twenty years in the NHS in a number of board and managerial roles including being an interim Chief Executive. In previous posts he led system wide changes and programmes of work with other health and care organisation that spanned North Kent and South East London and pioneered the introduction of Group Models into the NHS.

He previously studied at Kings College London, Ashridge Business School and was a member of the NHS Top Leaders Programme. He is keen on coaching youth basketball and is married with three children.