Meet the Board

On this page you can find information on our:

  • chair and chief executive
  • executive directors
  • non-executive directors
  • decision-making staff and their declaration of interests

Decision-making staff and declarations of interest

Read the register of interests for Board members and decision-making staff (PDF, 233 KB).

Declarations of interest for Kim O'Keeffe, Chief Nursing Officer, Alison Thorne-Henderson, Chief People Officer and Kelvyn Hipperson, Chief Information Officer, and our procurement staff can be found on the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust website.

Funds received from sponsored research are received by the Trust, not the individual.

Our chair and chief executive

Margaret Schwarz, Chair 

Margaret joined us in 2016 as a non-executive director. She became our chair in January 2022.

Her career has focused on economics, risk, and regulation. She brings a wealth of leadership experience to her role. Margaret has been deputy chairman of the University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust. She was also a non-executive director of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

Margaret also holds the position of governance leader for Cornish Mutual.

She has a Bachelor of the Arts (BA) in economics and political science and a Master of Sciences (MSc) in economics. Margaret completed a financial programme at the London Business School. She has also completed the strategy programme at INSEAD.

Margaret Schwarz

Debbie Richards, Chief Executive

Debbie became our chief executive in October 2021. She represents mental health as a partner member of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board.

Debbie returned to Cornwall from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. In Oxford, she held the role of executive managing director of mental health, learning disability and autism services. Debbie was also the executive lead for provider collaboratives.

She has many years of senior-level experience in clinical service delivery. Her NHS career spans mental health, community services, and acute Trusts.

She began her career as a probation service officer, leaving Cornwall to train as a social worker. As chief executive, Debbie is helping to create opportunities for us to grow talent in the county, and encourage the continuous development of our staff.

She achieved a postgraduate diploma in social research methods in 2000. She has a Master of Sciences (MSc) in applied social sciences and a Bachelor of the Arts (BA) in social sciences and social policy. She is passionate about transforming community services with the voluntary, community, and social enterprise sector.

Debbie Richards

Executive directors

Tamsyn Anderson, Chief Operating Officer

Tamsyn became our chief operating officer in December 2021. In this role she oversees all clinical and operational services.

She brings a unique perspective to the role having trained and worked as a GP. She is a former GP partner at Newquay Health Centre. She has extensive senior-level and clinical experience. She has held board-level positions in both commissioning and provider organisations.

Tamsyn has held a variety of roles with our local clinical commissioning group. These include medical director, practice-based commissioning, and governing body roles.

Since 2016 she has been a board a member of our board of directors. Tamsyn is enthusiastic about the integration of primary care, acute, and community services.

Tamsyn Anderson

Adrian Flynn, Chief Medical Officer

Adrian is a consultant psychiatrist. He became our interim medical director in 2019 and took on the role substantively in July 2022.

He brings a wealth of clinical and operational experience to the role. Adrian worked as a consultant in general adult and liaison psychiatry for 13 years.

He has a special interest in perinatal mental health. As a result, he is chair of the Angela Harrison Charitable Trust.

He became a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in 1991. Later, becoming a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (MR Psych) in 2001. He also holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

Adrian Flynn

Kelvyn Hipperson, Chief Information Officer

Kelvyn joined our board of directors in August 2019. He is a dual appointment with the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

Before joining the NHS Kelvyn had an extensive civil service career of almost 20 years. He has worked in senior technology roles in both the private sector and civil service. During his career he has transformed some of the largest IT service contracts in the UK.

Kelvyn is a Chartered Engineer. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology. He is also a Member of the British Computer Society. He holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) honours in physics and computer science. Alongside this, he holds a Master’s in Philosophy (MPhil).

Kelvyn Hipperson

Sarah James, Chief Governance and Improvement Officer

Sarah joined us in January 2023 from the South Western Ambulance Service. At the ambulance trust, she was the interim executive director of quality and clinical care. Prior to this, she was their deputy director of quality.

Over the last 15 years, her focus has been patient safety, service, quality improvement, and good governance. During this time she has held a variety of senior quality improvement and governance roles across the NHS. These include being the regional head of clinical quality (South West) for NHS Improvement.

She is a registered nurse with a background in orthopaedics and trauma nursing. During her career, she has worked across all sectors of the NHS. This includes acute, community care, and commissioning.

In addition to her experience in the NHS, Sarah holds a Diploma in Higher Education (adult nursing), a BSc in nursing, and an MSc in strategic management.

Sarah James

Kim O'Keeffe, Chief Nursing Officer

Kim joined us in 2019. This was an expansion of her role with the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. She became the deputy chief executive of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust in 2020.

She has extensive strategic and operational experience at a senior management level. During her career she has worked within healthcare systems in the UK and South Africa. Kim began her nursing training at Addington Hospital, in Durban in 1983. She completed her mental health training the year after.

Kim returned to the UK in 1999, taking up various roles with the Dudley Group of hospitals. She completed her Master of Science (MSc) in Professional Health Care Studies in 2006.

She is passional about the development of our non-medical workforce, leadership and a just culture. She is an Honorary Associate Professor or Nursing at the University of Plymouth.

In the 2020 Queen’s New Year Honours list, Kim was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM).

Kim O'Keefe

Adie Perry, Chief Finance Officer

Adie joined our team of executive directors in February 2022.

Prior to joining the Trust, Adie was a finance director for a clinical commissioning group and integrated care system in Kent and Medway. He has a wealth of commissioning experience having held a variety of senior level finance roles for both NHS England and clinical commissioning groups in the Sussex area.

Adie holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in mathematics and is a Fellow, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

Adie Perry

Alison Thorne-Henderson, Dual Chief People Officer

Appointed in January 2023.

Alison joined Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust in 2022 and became Dual Chief People Officer for both of Cornwall's provider Trusts in 2023.

Alison is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors, a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development, and holds a MA in Human Resource Management.

She spent her early career in the private sector working for large retail companies before moving to TV, radio broadcasting, internet, and IT.

Alison has worked as a human resources director within the acute NHS sector and held the role of the Chair for the human resources network of the Association of UK University Hospitals.

Alison has held a non-executive director role for Young Enterprise and a board member role for NHS Employers Policy Board.

Alison also has been a chief operating officer within palliative care and held various executive human resource director roles for a university, and the residential/domiciliary care sector.

Alison has a passion for inclusion and customer service.

Alison Thorne-Henderson

Non-executive directors

Jane Abraham, Non-Executive Director

Jane has a special interest in staff health and wellbeing which she brings to her role on the board.

Jane has helped to shape policy for the Department of Work and Pensions and the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health. She was an associate honorary research fellow of the University of Exeter. She has also been a medical school lecturer and academic lead on workplace health for the University of Exeter's Business School.

Jane became a non-executive director in June 2017. She chairs our People and Culture Committee.

Jane has a Bachelor of Sciences (BSc) honours in health and social care.

Jane Abraham

Adrian Davis, Non-Executive Director

A former firefighter, Adrian joined the Trust in May 2016 when he retired from the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service. He brings a wealth of major incident and emergency planning experience to our board. He has previously been a multi-agency gold incident commander and a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear gold commander.

He is our senior independent director. He chairs the Remuneration and Terms of Service Committee and the Regulatory Compliance Committee.

Adrian holds a master’s in business administration. He is a member of the Institution of Fire Engineers.

Adrian Davis

Robert Fern, Non-Executive Director

Professor Robert Fern joined the Trust as a non-executive director in August 2023.

He is a translational neurobiologist and leads health research at the University of Plymouth. His research focuses on the damage which occurs to brain cells when the blood supply is disrupted. Common conditions linked to a loss of blood supply are cerebral palsy in infants and strokes which can affect people of any age. By understanding what happens in the brain, he hopes to develop interventions.

His career has spanned UCL, Yale, and the Universities of Washington and Leicester.

Robert Fern

David Harland, Vice Chair

David became vice chair at the end of 2020, after joining us in 2016 as a non-executive director.

David’s previous experience spans a variety of health and care sectors. These include domiciliary care (the Enara Group), learning disabilities (the Care Management Group), and the Priory Group. He has also been an executive director for the Eden Project.

David chairs the People, Finance, and Sustainability Committee.

A chartered accountant, David is a Fellow Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

David Harland

Dean Harvey, Associate Non-Executive Director

Dean joined us an associate non-executive director in May 2022. He is the lead community development worker at Pentreath Ltd. He also an independent advisor to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.

He chaired the Cornwall Race Equality Council. He is a former trustee of the children’s charity, CLEAR, and former board member, trustee, and presenter for Source FM. Dean helped to co-design the way hate crime is reported in Cornwall. He is an organiser of Cornwall’s Respect Festival.

With over 20 years’ experience in community development work, he has designed and developed several specialised training packages relevant to services in Devon and Cornwall, drawn from an evidence base gained through involvement with regional and national networks.

He is currently one of the Directors of the Devon and Cornwall Community Scrutiny panel and in 2022 he was the Winner of the 'Excellence in Leadership' Award at Cornwall Care and Support Awards.

Dean Harvey

Miriam Maddison, Non-Executive Director

Miriam joined the Trust in July 2023. She has extensive experience of working in the NHS and local government within the south west, including roles in public health, primary care commissioning and as a director of adult social services. Miriam has also been chair of SHAL Housing in Somerset. Since 2012 she has been a company director, providing consultancy support to adult social care services.

Miriam is passionate about care quality and reducing inequalities in health. She is a family carer and draws on that experience to try and see health and care services from the perspective of the public.

Miriam Madison

John Newbury, Non-Executive Director

John joined our Trust in July 2023. His career has focussed on housing and community wellbeing during which he has championed the links between housing and health.

During his career John has worked across local government in the West Midlands, Newcastle and London where he was an executive director of housing. He has also set up a housing and regeneration consultancy, advising central and local government and housing associations on performance, policy and business planning.

He is currently a senior independent director for LiveWest, a housing association which supports the west country with 40,000 homes, over 10,000 of which are in Cornish communities. He brings a wealth of experience in service improvement and effective governance in public and not-for-profit sectors, partnership working, housing and estate management.

John is a graduate and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing. He has 2 degrees in English and Philosophy and Housing Policy and Practice.

John Newbury

Justin Olosunde, Associate Non-Executive Director

Justin joined the Trust in August 2022.

He has an extensive background in education, curriculum development. He also has expertise in investment banking and social enterprise.

He was principal of Camborne College, Newquay College, Falmouth Marine School, and a director of Somerset College. He has also been a governor and trustee of various academy trusts in Devon and Cornwall.

Justin is a director of the South West Business Council. He is also vice president and director for TD Securities (Toronto Dominion Bank).

He has a PGCE teaching qualification, a BSc Honours in Chemistry and, an MSc in natural resource management. He is a member of the Institute for Learning and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Justin Olosunde

Amanda Stratford, Non-Executive Director

Amanda joined us as a non-executive director in 2022. Before this she was the chief executive officer of HealthWatch Cornwall.

Alongside her non-executive director role, Amanda works as a consultant in public engagement with NHS England and the third sector. She was formerly development director with health charities including Meningitis Now and the Royal Osteoporosis Society. As chair of the board of trustees for Young Dementia UK she led the merger with Dementia UK and has also been a trustee for Taunton Women’s Refuge. In 2020 Amanda founded Cornwall Women’s Fund.

Amanda is a qualified neurolinguistic practitioner. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (the Chartered Governance Institute).

Amanda Stratford