Non-Executive Recruitment

Our Board

Executive Directors

Chris Allen
Acting Chairman

Chris has lived and worked in Wirral all her life. She was a Housing Association chief executive for 29 years.

Chris was Vice Chair of Wirral Community Health Council (WCHC) when it was in existence representing the Voluntary, Community and Faith sector. This included working in partnership with health professionals during the early transitions between Primary Care Groups (PCG) and PCTs.

Chris holds a number of other public roles in Education and Criminal justice.

Karen Howell
Chief Executive 

Karen Howell joined the trust as Chief Executive in August 2015. Karen grew up in Wirral and trained and worked here as a nurse in her early career.

A highly experienced regional and national health leader with 25 years at board level, previous roles include: Managing Director for Specialised and Tertiary Commissioning for NHS Wales, Interim Chief Executive at Hywel Dda University Health Board, NHS Wales Mental Health Lead, Northwest Regional Clinical Director for Prison Health, DH national director high secure services, DH national policy lead medium secure services, Director of Forensic Services at Merseycare NHS Trust, Director of Nursing/Deputy CEO at Halton & St Helens Primary Care Trust. Karen is a Registered Nurse and has a MSc in Law and Biomedical Ethics from the University of Liverpool.

Mark Greatrex
Director of Finance & Resources / Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Mark is Director of Finance & Resources for the trust and has worked for 25 years within the NHS. Prior to joining the trust, Mark has worked as Deputy Director of Finance at Liverpool Heart & Chest NHS Foundation Trust, the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust and Mersey Regional Ambulance Service. Previous to this Mark spent 12 years at St. Helens & Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust in various financial and non-financial roles.

Mark has led Finance portfolios that have included Information, IT, Estates, Procurement and Facilities. Mark is a keen advocate of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, where he has served on its North West Branch Committee.

Sandra Christie
Director of Nursing & Quality

Sandra is the Director of Nursing & Performance and the executive lead for Infection Prevention and Control and Safeguarding for Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust. Sandra is a nurse and health visitor by background and has had a varied NHS career covering operational and strategic management, service improvement and quality.

Sandra qualified as a nurse in 1982 and is still registered as a nurse. She has worked in the community on Wirral since 1992. She is passionate about quality and improving care for patients and is a previous Florence Nightingale Leadership scholar.

Sandra lives in Wallasey, Wirral.

Jo Harvey
Director of Human Resources & Organisational Development 

Jo has over 15 years experience as a Human Resources professional and has worked in the NHS since 2002. Prior to the role of Director of Human Resources at Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust Jo was Human Resources Director for NHS Wirral, and before that the Assistant Director of Human Resources at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. Previously Jo worked for ten years in both managerial and HR roles in the Civil Service, at the Lord Chancellor’s Department and OFSTED. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Jo’s key purpose is to ensure the effective planning, development and management of the Trust’s workforce. She is also responsible for the communications and marketing strategies for the Community Trust and leads on Equality and Human Rights. 

Jo lives in Chester.

Professor Ewen Sim
Medical Director 

Since leaving Edinburgh Medical School in 1990, Ewen has had a varied career in healthcare holding a range of Junior Doctor posts including Histopathology and A&E. He has also worked at the North West Deanery and at the Department of Health regulating working conditions of doctors in training. He came to Wirral in 2001 to train as a GP and is now a partner in Fender Way Health Centre. Prior to joining Wirral Community NHS Trust as a Medical Director he was a Clinical Director in Liverpool.

Ewen was a union leader for doctors in the British Medical Association in charge of education and training, working with the General Medical Council, the British National Formulary and the Royal College of General Practitioners. He is also a founder member of the Postgraduate Medical and Education Training Board (now part of the GMC). 

Ewen is the Caldicott Guardian and the Accountable Officer for Controlled Drugs for the Trust.

Ewen lives in Hoylake, Wirral. 

Val McGee
Director of Integration and Operations

Val McGee is the Director of Integration and Partnerships, to help Wirral's health and social care organisations work more closely together. Val brings a wealth of experience from Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Her new role is jointly funded by Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust, Cheshire & Wirral Partnership, and NHS England to support the development of new models of care for health and social services.

Phil Clow
Director of Business Development & Strategy

Phil is the Director of Business Development & Strategy, and joined the Trust in 2015. Phil joined the NHS in 2008 through the NHS Gateway to Leadership programme bringing with him 17 years of public sector experience.

Prior to joining Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust, Phil was the Director of Commissioning at North Tyneside CCG, and before this the PCT for 5 years.

He also spent 2 years as a Senior Manager for NHS Newcastle and North Tyneside Community Services.

Before joining the NHS, Phil worked for the Environment Agency for 10 years in various roles including Programme Manager for flood risk management in the East of England.

Phil grew up on the Wirral, and now lives in Parkgate.

Brian Simmons
Non-Executive Director

Brian was until recently Assistant Chief Officer and Finance Director for the Cheshire Constabulary. 

Brian joined the Civil Service in 1972 working in accounts and audit for the Property Service Agency. He has also worked as Business Services Director for a Ministry of Agriculture Science Laboratory.

Brian is married with one daughter and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Non-Executive Directors

Murray Freeman
Non-Executive Director

Originally from Liverpool, Murray has lived in Wirral since 1977 and has been a GP in Rock Ferry for nearly 30 years.

Murray has a particular interest in palliative care and end of life care. Over the years he has held a number of additional posts including GP Trainer, Cancer Lead for NHS Wirral, Chairman of Wirral Local Medical Committee, Medical Director of Wirral Community Healthcare NHS Trust and most recently GP Executive Member of Wirral Health Commissioning Consortia.

Murray is married with two grown up sons. He is a keen runner and member of the Rotary Club. 

Alan Wilson
Non-Executive Director

Alan was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust in April 2013.

Alan began his banking career in Scotland before moving to South Wales in the late 1980s and then to the North West of England where he was Regional Director of Bank of Scotland. Since leaving the banking industry in 2005, Alan has worked in the accountancy sector firstly with The Steve Stuart Partnership then with Baker Tilly. He has also been a Non-Executive Director for the Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust , where he chaired the Audit Committee between 2006 and 2011.

Alan lives in West Kirby and is married with two children.

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