Appointment of Two Non-Executive Directors to the Western Health & Social Care Trust

Date published: 07 May 2020

Health Minister Robin Swann, has announced the appointment of two (Lay) Non-Executive Directors to the Western Health & Social Care Trust (WHSCT).

Health Minister Robin Swann, has announced the appointment of two (Lay) Non-Executive Directors to the Western Health & Social Care Trust (WHSCT).

Professor Hugh McKenna and Rev Judith McGaffin were appointed on the 13 March 2020 for a maximum period of 4 years. The Non-Executive Director role attracts a remuneration of £8,283 per annum and carries a time commitment of 1 day per week.

These appointments have been made in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.

The WHSCT is one of five Trusts established as statutorily separate organisations within the HSC family, responsible for the delivery of responsive and effective health and care services and for the ownership and management of hospitals and other establishments and facilities.  They provide health and social care services against Ministerial priorities, standards and targets and are performance managed by the Department and the HSC Board. Services will be provided as specified in contracts with the commissioners of health and social care services, namely the HSC Board. 

The Board of the WHSCT is made up of 5 Executive Directors including the Chief Executive, a Non-Executive Chair and 7 Non-Executive Directors.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Professor Hugh McKenna – A nursing professor at Ulster University and, until recently, Dean of Medical School Development at Magee. He has 16 years’ experience in general and psychiatric practice and was chief nurse for the Southern Health and Social Services Board. He chairs the Inspire Charity and is on Patient and Client Council’s Research Committee.  He is also a Trustee of the Alzheimer’s Society UK. He has Fellowships from five prestigious academic bodies and was appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his work on health and community. He received the Outstanding Achievement Award by the RCN and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Institute of Psychiatry in London.  In 2019 he was named one of the 70 most influential nurses in the 70 year history of the NHS. He has honorary doctoral degrees from Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Maribor, Slovenia. His research interests are patient quality and safety and the healthcare workforce.
  2. Rev Judith McGaffin – In 1980 Judith qualified as a dentist from Queen’s University Belfast and for the next 36 years worked in various parts of the health service in Northern Ireland. She began her clinical dental career in General Dental Practice in Armagh and then moved to the community dental service in the Southern and Western Boards. Judith was appointed as Director of Dental Health in the West in 1991 and retired as the Regional Lead for General dental services and governance in the Health and Social Care Board in 2016. Judith was ordained in the Church of Ireland in 2009 and is currently the part-time rector of the parishes of Fahan Upper and Lower in Co. Donegal.  She is married to Brendan and has 2 children – David (38) who lives in Scotland and Jane (34) who lives in Australia. Her grandson Riley is almost a year old.
  3. Appointments to the WHSCT are made with the approval of the Minister for Health. 
  4. The Code of Practice published by the Commissioner for Public Appointments Northern Ireland allows for the creation of a reserve list, operative for a period of one year.  This enables the Minister to make appointments to a Board without the requirement for a further recruitment process. 
  5. Minister Swann made these two appointments using a reserve list created following the last public appointment competition for the WHSCT.
  6. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments requires the political activity of appointees to be published.   Both appointees declared that they had not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.
  7. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
  8. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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