Extensions of appointment of four non-executive directors to the Western Health and Social Care Trust

Date published: 27 July 2016

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill today announced extensions of the terms of appointment of four non-executive directors within the Western Health and Social Care Trust (HSCT) for a further 12 months from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.

The extensions relate to Niall Birthistle, Stella Cummings, Joan Doherty and Sally O’Kane.

All of these extensions carry a time commitment of one day per week and attract an annual remuneration of £7,960.

The Western HSCT is one of five 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 in the north of Ireland is managed directly by a Board of Directors which has corporate responsibility for its operation. The Board is made up of five executive directors and seven non-executive directors and a non-executive chair. 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. A selection panel, which included an Independent Assessor as required under the Commissioner’s Code, considered the suitability of all candidates. The final decision on the appointment rested with the Minister.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Niall Birthistle lives in Derry. He was Executive Director of Adria Ltd in Strabane until 2003. He is currently non executive Chairman of R E Cooke Ltd, an engineering company based in Burton on Trent. He is a Trustee of the North West Playhouse and a non executive director of School Employer Connections, a not for profit organization based in Derry. Mr Birthistle was formerly a non executive director of Altnagelvin Hospitals HSS Trust. He holds no other public appointments.
  2. Mrs Stella Cummings from 1978-2003 worked for Foyle HSS Trust and was Programme Manager for Older People with the responsibility for the provision of Social Care Service to the over 65 population. In 2007, Mrs Cummings was elected as a Trustee to the Board of the British Red Cross, became a Vice Chair of the Organisation in 2010 and served on this Board as a UK Trustee until her term of office ended in December 2013. Mrs Cummings is a former Chair of Roe Valley Disability Action Group. She was first appointed to the Western HSC Trust on 1 April 2007.
  3. Mrs Joan Doherty is a former Head Teacher, has been appointed to a number of Public Appointments and has served on a number of Boards throughout the north in varying roles. Mrs Doherty was first appointed to the Western HSC Trust on 1 April 2007.
  4. Mrs Sally O’Kane from 1992-2003 was Clinical Director of Pharmacy Services at the Altnagelvin Hospitals HSS Trust. She is also Vice Chair of the Derry Diocesan Committee of the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools. Mrs O’Kane lives in Derry, and was first appointed to the Western HSC Trust in April 2007.
  5. Appointments to the Health and Social Care Trusts are made with the approval of the Minister for Health. There are no specific qualifications for appointment. Each person is appointed to act in a personal capacity and not to represent any particular interest or group.
  6. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for NI requires the political activity of appointees to be published. All appointees have declared they have not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.
  7. Media enquiries to DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0579. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.

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