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Trust Board

The Board of the Belfast Trust is responsible for the strategic direction and management of the Trust’s activities. It is accountable, through the chairman, to the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety, and ultimately to the Minister for Health.

It is made up of a Chairman, four Non-Executive Directors, five Executive Directors and seven other Directors. The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety appoints non-executive directors, with the approval of the Minister for Health, Social services and Public Safety.

The Trust Board meets approximately 6 times per year and anyone can attend.

In addition to the Chief Executive Cathy Jack and the Chairman Mr Ciaran Mulgrew, the following people are members of Trust Board.

Non-Executive members of Trust Board

Professor Carmel Hughes

Professor Hughes was appointed as a non-Executive Director on January 1st 2022. Carmel is a pharmacist and Professor of Primary Care Pharmacy at the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s University Belfast.  She was the first pharmacist to have been appointed to a Harkness Fellowship in Healthcare Policy, the only pharmacist to receive a Primary Care Career Scientist Award and a former Cochrane Fellow.  Her research interests centre on prescribing in older people, intervention development and evidence-based healthcare.

She is a Senior Editor for the journal Pilot and Feasibility Studies.  She is a Trustee of the Dunhill Medical Trust, a charity which funds research focusing on older people and she also chairs the Trust’s Research Grants Committee.  She is a member of the National Institute for Health (NIHR) Programme Grant for Applied Research funding panel.

Carmel is currently a member of the International Scientific Council (ISC) of the Louvain Drug Research Institute (LDRI,) the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences External Advisory Board and the International Advisory Board of the School for Primary Care Research (funded by NIHR).

Gordon Smyth

Gordon Smyth was appointed as Non-Executive Finance Director to Belfast Health and Social Care Trust with effect from 5th April 2016.  He spent most of his career in the banking sector where he gained 28 years management experience from working in both Head Office and the branch network. He has a strong commitment to the voluntary sector where he has had a number of leadership roles. Gordon is a former board member of the Medical & Dental Training Agency ( NIMDTA ) and holds a public appointment as a non-executive financial board member at the Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) where he has been Chair of the Audit Risk and Governance Committee since October 2014.

John Conaghan

John has had a varied career working in senior positions within the Pharmaceutical Industry and the local Community & Voluntary Sector. From 1992-2009 John worked in the pharmaceutical industry in Healthcare Development and Regional Business Manager roles across the UK and Ireland. From 2009-2023 John worked at Inspire, an all-island mental health charity. From 2017-2023 John was the Group Director for Therapeutic & Wellbeing Services at Inspire, holding strategic responsibility for the delivery of mental health and wellbeing services to over two hundred organisations.

Since 2009 John has served as a school governor in both primary and post-primary schools and from 2009-2016 John was Chair of the SE Belfast Scout Association. John is a passionate supporter of the Community and Voluntary and Social Enterprise sectors and a leading expert on Social Value, Compassionate Leadership and Creating Psychologically Safe Cultures in the Workplace.

Patricia Gordon

Patricia Gordon had a career in the Health and Social Care sector where she worked in strategic planning, information and general management roles. Patricia was CEO of the Mater Hospital Trust from 1995-2003 and CEO of the South and East Trust from 2003-2007. From 2008-2018, Patricia was the Northern Ireland Director for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Patricia has served as a member of the Governing Body of Queen’s University Belfast; was a member of the Business in Community Board; a member of the NHSPRB; a Non -Executive Director in the NI Prison Service and in the Business Services Organisation. She  is currently a lay member of the Tax Tribunal, an Associate Consultant in the Leadership Centre, Vice-Chair of Strathearn School and  a trustee of the charity Family Mediation NI.

David Small

David Small is a graduate of Ulster University and a career civil servant.  He retired from NICS in 2021, as a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). During his NICS career, David worked in the areas of housing, planning, agriculture and the environment. He also served as Private Secretary to two successive Whitehall Ministers during the 1990’s, Conservative Malcolm Moss MP and Labour’s Lord Dubs, and, more recently, worked closely with a number of Northern Ireland Assembly Ministers.

Before retiring, David was Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. He also led the Environment Policy Group within DAERA. As Head of Group and a member of the DAERA Departmental Board, he was responsible for the full range of governance issues, including business planning, ensuring strong systems of  internal control and robust financial and risk management.

David is also a member of the Northern Regional College Governing Body and Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) for the Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse

Professor Catherine Ross

Professor Catherine Ross is Chief Scientific Officer for Scottish Government, Scottish Government’s most senior clinical advisor for Healthcare Science, and head of profession for the scientific workforce within the NHS in Scotland.  She is a Visiting Professor at Edinburgh Napier University and Honorary Research Consultant in NHS Lothian.

Catherine is a Clinical Scientist and worked in HSC in Northern Ireland for over 25 years, 10 years of which was in the Belfast Trust, as a cardiac physiologist specialising in non-invasive cardiac imaging.  She is Vice Chair of the Science Council and Chair of its Policy Advisory Committee, in addition to being a member of the Board of Trustees. She is the current Secretary/Treasurer and an Executive Board member of the Association of Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions (ACNAP) within the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and was previously President of the Society for Cardiological Science and Technology (SCST), the professional body for Cardiac Scientists.

Catherine is a Chartered Scientist and Chartered Biologist. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, the Academy of Healthcare Science, the National Institute of Prevention and Cardiovascular Health in Ireland and the European Society of Cardiology.

Joe McVey 

Joe McVey was appointed as CEO of Brain Injury Matters (NI) in 2019. Prior to joining BIM (NI) he was the founding partner of Blueprint Development Consultancy working for 20 years in strategic planning, governance and organisational development within the Third and Public sectors.

Joe is actively involved in the voluntary and community sector and is currently a Trustee of the Golden Thread Gallery and the V.S.B Foundation. In June 2015, Joe was appointed to serve as a commissioner with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and in 2019 as member of the Historic Monuments Council.

In 2010 Joe was awarded an OBE for services to the voluntary sector. Joe is an Honours graduate from the Queen’s University of Belfast and holds a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in Business Improvement.

Executive Members of Trust Board

The Executive Team are also members of Trust Board. Read about the Executive Team here.

Code of Accountability

A Code of Accountablity for board members of Health and Social Care bodies. These codes provide a basis on which Health and Social Care bodies should seek to fulfil the duties and responsibilities conferred upon the by the Department of Health.

Click here to read the full Code of Accountability.

Code of Business Conduct and Code of Accountability 2018-19 – Non Executive Directors

Code of Business Conduct and Code of Accountability 2018-19 – Directors

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Also in this Section