Extension of Non-Executive Chair and Appointment of two Non-Executive Directors to the Western Health and Social Care Trust Board

Date published: 11 April 2019

The Department of Health has announced the extension to the appointment of the Non-Executive Chair of the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) and the appointment to the WHSCT Board of two Non-Executive Directors.

Western Trust Public Appointments Image

The extension of Mr Niall Birthistle’s appointment as Chair will run from 1 April 2019 until 30 April 2019. The role of Chair carries a time commitment of 3 days per week and attracts an annual remuneration of £30,618. Mrs Ruth Laird and Dr John McPeake are appointed as Non-Executive Directors from 1 April 2019 for a maximum period of 4 years. Each Non-Executive Director role attracts a remuneration of £8,201 per annum and carries a time commitment of 1 day per week.

The WHSCT is one of five Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts established in 2007 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.

Each HSC Trust is managed directly by a Board of Directors which has corporate responsibility for its operation. The Board consists of the Chairman, the Chief Executive, seven Non-Executive Directors and five Executive directors. Executive directors and Non-Executive Directors are full and equal members of the Board.

The appointments are made in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for NI.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Mr Niall Birthistle – Niall joined Adria Ltd, a large clothing manufacturer based in Strabane, as an executive director and in 1995 he was appointed Managing Director until his retirement in 2005. He is a former President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. He served on the Council of the University of Ulster and on the Northern Ireland Council of The Princes Trust. He was a director of the Northern Ireland Partnership Board. He is currently a Trustee of the Playhouse in Derry and a director of School Employer Connections.  He is Non-Executive Chairman of R E Cooke Ltd, an engineering company based in Burton on Trent. Niall was a Non-Executive Director of the former Altnagelvin Trust for 2 years prior to the establishment of the Western Health and Social Care Trust and he has been a Non- Executive Director of that Board since then. He was appointed Acting Chairman in August 2016.
  1. Mrs Ruth Laird CBE – Ruth is a human resource professional with particular experience in recruitment and selection, organisational development and equality and diversity across public private and voluntary sectors. She was formerly Director of the National Trust NI, Director of HR for BBC (NI) and a Fair Employment Commissioner. Ruth has held appointments as a NI Judicial Appointments Commissioner; Civil Service Commissioner; a Non-Executive Director of the NI Prison Service and the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority: a Board member of Business in the Community: an Independent Assessor for Public Appointments, and a member of the Council of Ulster University. She is currently a Parole Commissioner (NI), a member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal, a member of the Civil Legal Services Appeals Panel and an independent Panel member for Police Misconduct Hearings. Ruth provides professional coaching and mentoring services in recruitment, selection and assessment, career and organisational development. Ruth was made a CBE in 2012 for public and voluntary services in Northern Ireland. 
  1. Dr John McPeake - John spent the bulk of his career working in the field of social and affordable housing, mostly with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. He joined the NIHE in 1982 as a Graduate Trainee and retired in 2014 as its Chief Executive. In retirement he has maintained an active interest in housing, and he currently holds board roles at the NI Federation of Housing Associations (Belfast), Wales and West Housing (Cardiff), and DePaul Housing (Dublin). Following retirement John was appointed as an Honorary Professor in Planning at QUB. John is a member of the International Advisory Committee for the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, a consortium of 14 institutions led by the University of Glasgow, and he also chairs the Centre’s NI Exchange Hub.
  1. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. All appointees declared they had not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.
  2. Media enquiries to DoH Press Office on 02890 520575 or email: pressoffice@health-ni.gov.uk. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 02890 378110. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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