Board of Directors

The role of the Board of Directors is to manage the day-to-day running of the Trust. This includes setting the strategic direction of the Trust, monitoring our performance against objectives and ensuring that we provide high quality, effective, patient focused services.

The Board of Directors comprises the following people:

  • Chair
  • Chief Executive*
  • Seven Non-Executive Directors
  • Deputy CEO (Chief Operating Officer / Executive Director of Strategy & Transformation)
  • Executive Director of Finance*
  • Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery, Allied Health Professionals and Quality*
  • Executive Medical Director*
  • Executive Director of Integrated Care*
  • Executive Director of People and Culture*
  • Joint Executive Director of Communications* (non voting)
  • Executive of Corporate Governance* (non-voting)

(Executive Directors*)

James Wilkie, Acting Chair

Acting Chair

James Wilkie was appointed as a Non-Executive Director in January 2019. He had a long and successful career in local government working for a number of local authorities in Scotland and the North West. James began his career as a town planner and moved on to lead a wide range of services, holding a number of different executive positions.

Following his retirement from local government, James served as a Non-Executive Director with the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust until late 2017 when he moved out of the Trust's constituency area.

Steve Fogg, Chair

Chief Executive

Trish Armstrong-Child joined the Trust on September 20th 2021 after previously being the chief executive of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital.

Before taking over at Southport in December 2019 Trish was deputy chief executive and director of nursing at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

During her six years there, she played a key role in shaping the organisation into one rated by the Care Quality Commission as “good” overall and “outstanding” for leadership at all levels.

Trish, who was inspired to become a nurse by her mum’s work as a healthcare assistant in a nursing home, qualified as a registered general nurse in 1992.

She completed her training at Whiston hospital, Merseyside, and worked at other North West trusts as staff nurse, sister and matron. She went on to hold senior positions in nursing and NHS operational management, including deputy director of operations at the former Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust. She joined the board of Bolton in 2013.

In 2018, Trish was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bolton for her “outstanding contribution to health care”.
Bolton has strong links with the university and she worked with them to establish a pre-registration nursing degree. In awarding the honour, the university said she had quadrupled the places open to nursing students.

She was awarded a MBE for services to nursing in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List.

Non-Executive Directors

Non-Executive Directors (including the Chair) are not full time NHS employees. They are people who live or work in the local area and have shown a keen interest in helping to improve healthcare for local people. Their presence on the Board helps to ensure that the Trust works in the best interests of the people it serves.

Sue McKenna

Non-Executive Director

Sue Mckenna has spent much of her childhood and working life in Blackpool, training as a general nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in 1984, and also in mental health in 1991. She worked in the hospital and across services for many years and saw all her children born at Blackpool Victoria and her family continue to receive healthcare at the Trust, strengthening both her professional commitment and her personal investment in the system.

From a professional perspective, Sue has been a Director of Nursing and a Chief Operating Officer in the NHS for a number of years. She has been a COO within two systems, the most recent in south west London, St George’s-Tooting. She has managed and led operational services across systems, in health, social care, police and prison and across physical and mental health. Her board experience comes across a range of Boards in the NHS, but also many other boards working in partnership with other public sector and private organisations.

Sue retired from her last full-time executive role in the NHS in late 2019, but remains a registered nurse to this day.

Prior to becoming a Non-Executive Director at Blackpool in September 2021, Sue had spent two years working as a NED in an integrated system for two years.


Vacant post

Non-Executive Director

Andy Roach is a registered mental health nurse with more than 20 years’ experience at board level in health organisations.

He was most recently on the board at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and before that at NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group as Director of Integration and Transformation. Within the role, he was responsible for an ambitious plan to reform how the CCG commissions services.

Andy was also the Lead Director on behalf of partner organisations across the Fylde Coast, providing system leadership and strategic management for the Fylde Coast Vanguard New Care Models programme. The scheme redesigned the way primary, secondary and voluntary sector health organisations worked together to deliver integrated healthcare to residents across the Fylde Coast.

He previously held the position of Direc­tor of Opera­tions and Exec­u­tive Nurse at Cum­bria Part­ner­ship NHS Foun­da­tion Trust. Dur­ing his five years at the Trust, Andy led the estab­lish­ment of Inte­grated Locality Services across Cum­bria, and was respon­si­ble for over­see­ing the clin­i­cal and oper­a­tional imple­men­ta­tion of Trans­form­ing Com­mu­nity Ser­vices. He also developed and imple­mented the first Trust-wide nurs­ing strategy.

Vacant post

Non-Executive Director

Fiona Poxon is a chartered accountant who started her career working in Audit at Deloitte. She then moved into industry and developed a specialism in finance and commercial business partnering for large corporate entitles, she supported various operational and sales leaders to achieve their financial and workforce orientated goals.

More recently Fiona has been working as a consultant on finance transformation and change projects in organisations ranging from small volunteer-run community businesses to large national companies in the healthcare sector. Fiona is passionate about improving opportunities and outcomes for all. She is an active volunteer trustee, sitting on several boards for community-based and charity organisations in the North West.

Non-Executive Director

Fergus Singleton has spent most of his working life in the defence industry, having joined British Aerospace as an apprentice in the 1980s.

He has led several large operational teams and has extensive experience in engineering, manufacturing, maintenance, supply chain and transformation.

Fergus is married to Christine and they have three children: James (18), Ella (17) and Amelie (14). Unfortunately, James is severely disabled from a birthing injury; he has cerebral palsy at the most extreme end of the spectrum and a range of associated complications. Fergus’s experiences (great and not so great) with James in the region’s hospitals are his primary motivation for joining the BTH team.

Fortunately, James’ sisters give Fergus and Christine some normality, if not sanity! Despite keeping pretty busy with his family, Fergus still claims to be a keen (if uncoordinated sportsman) and enjoys swimming, cycling and skiing with what is left of his leisure time although sadly, his football days are in the past.

Robby Ryan

Non-Executive Director

Robby Ryan has spent a long career as a Chartered Accountant and Finance Director in a range of positions both in the UK and abroad, starting with PCW. Much of Robby's career was spent in banking with Barclays, based mainly in London and New York, but he has also worked for other blue-chip companies including Trinity Mirror PLC, RSA PLC and Shop Direct Group. Most recently, Robby worked as Chief Operating Officer at Blackpool and The Fylde College.

In addition to his technical Finance skills, Robby specialises in business turnarounds including transformations, mergers and acquisitions, operational excellence and efficiency improvement.

Recently retired, Robby is keen to continue to give back to society and is delighted to be able to support the NHS through his work with the Trust. Outside of work, Robby enjoys rambling and travel and is a keen photographer.

Vacant post

Non-Executive Director

Adrian Carridice-Davids has worked in coastal areas in another part of the UK and  wants to bring that experience of community and partnership engagement to Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, with the hope to collectively improve the wellbeing of the residents of Blackpool and reduce health inequalities in the area.

Executive Directors

Steve Christian

Deputy CEO (Chief Operating Officer / Executive Director of Strategy & Transformation)

Steve Christian was formerly Chief Integration Officer at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust and prior to that role, Deputy Chief Executive/Chief Operating Officer at Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals NHS Trust.

Steve’s NHS career started through the Graduate Management Scheme which provided him with the grounding and ability to see the ‘big picture’ and the opportunity to lead teams to perform at their best before securing his first Assistant Director role at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Throughout his NHS career, Steve has provided strong leadership and has established a reputation for developing strategies and leading delivery within complex environments. Steve has taken on several strategic change projects across both acute and mental health sector organisations, at both national and regional levels.

In his home life, Steve utilises his leadership qualities through the management of his son’s under 9’s football team.

Feroz Patel

Executive Director of Finance

Mark Brearley

Mark Brearley is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and a Chartered Global Management Accountant. He has had over 30 years’ experience as a finance director in a number of acute and integrated care NHS providers.

He is a Director of Unique Health Solutions Limited and has taken time out from consulting to support Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust tackle the financial challenges of the current NHS environment.

His main consulting experience is with financially challenged NHS providers. Before joining the Trust, his company was part of the PA Consulting Place Development Programme, delivering an NHS/Local Government Association commissioned programme. Mark worked on the delivery of the development programme in more than 20 places in England, including three in the North West.

Bridget Lees

Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery, Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) and Quality

Bridget Lees joined the Trust in April 2023 from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust where she was Executive Chief Nurse.

Before that she was Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Therapy at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust and also the Deputy Director of Nursing. Previous to this she was the Divisional Director of Nursing – Acute Adults at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

Bridget began her NHS career in 1993 training at Edge Hill University before joining the staff of Southport and Formby District General Hospital in 1996. Over the next 19 years, she held a succession of posts starting in A&E, working in urology, breast care, colorectal and high dependency before 10 years with the infection prevention and control team.

She left in summer 2015 to be a regional inspection lead for the Care Quality Commission, later becoming a head of nursing at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust where her responsibilities included prison healthcare and a large inpatient mental health unit.

More recently, Bridget has undertaken a secondment with the Chief Nursing Officer Ruth May and her team on the Executive nurse Fellowship 2021/22.

Chris Barben

Executive Medical Director

Chris Barben joined the Trust on 16 May 2022.  His previous role was split between being Associate Medical Director for Planned Care at Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust, and consultant colorectal surgeon at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Chris previously worked as Deputy Divisional Director of Surgery and Anaesthetics at Aintree Hospital, and as an Internal Clinical Advisor to the Health Service Ombudsman.  He was also the General Surgery Lead for the Elective Recovery Programme in Cheshire and Merseyside.

Having completed his training in London and South East, as well as a year’s training in Singapore, Chris became a consultant surgeon in 2004 at Aintree Hospital, where he introduced Enhanced Recovery after Surgery.

He was Training Programme Director for Core Surgical Training in the Mersey Deanery from 2008 – 2013.

Chris undertook GenerationQ, a Masters programme in Leadership and Quality Improvement, sponsored by the Health Foundation. As a result of this he ran a programme at Aintree Hospital to improve Theatre utilisation.

Janet Barnsley

Executive Director of Integrated Care

Janet Barnsley has more than 30 years’ experience within the NHS in a variety of roles in both provision and commissioning. Janet has worked on the Fylde coast since 2013, initially supporting the CCGs with Commissioning Support Services and then being appointed to Blackpool CCG in a new role of Director of Performance and Delivery.

Janet supported the Trust with winter pressures from December 2017 and was seconded into the role of Interim Director of Planned Care in April 2018, supporting the Trust and wider Integrated Care Partnership. Janet was formally appointed to the Trust is January 2020 and now provides operational oversight and management for the Families & Integrated Community Care and Clinical Support Services Divisions as well as being the Accountable Officer for Estates & Facilities, Emergency Preparedness Resilience & Response and Health & Safety.

Louise Ludgrove

Executive Director of People and Culture

Katy Coope joined the Trust in July 2022 as Deputy Director of People & Culture. In November 2023, Katy was successful in being appointed to the Executive Director of People & Culture.

Katy joined from NHS England and Health Education England where she held a dual role of Head of Workforce Transformation and Director of Delivery and Performance. During her time with NHS England, Katy was the Workforce Director for the delivery of the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme in the Northwest and worked with multiple partners to ensure there was sufficiently trained workforce to deliver the vaccine. Prior to this, Katy was a Director within the NHS Transformation Unit and provided leadership and expertise in relation to people and culture on several Transformation Programmes.
With strong personal connections to Lancashire and Blackpool, Katy will be using her significant experience of people and culture to support the Trust in being an developing an inclusive culture and being an employer of choice.

Shelley Wright

Joint Executive Director of Communications

Shelley Wright joined the Trust in January 2021 as Executive Director of Communications which is a joint role also overseeing the communications portfolio at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Shelley joined from Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust where she was Executive Director of Communications and prior to this she was Director of Communications for the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

A former journalist with strong personal connections to both East Lancashire and Blackpool, Shelley will be using her significant experience of crisis communications to support both Trusts in their response to Covid as well as leading across all areas of communications activity internally, externally and as part of the wider Lancashire and South Cumbria healthcare system.

Shelley Wright

Executive Director of Corporate Governance

Esther Steel has always worked within the NHS, starting her career as a Mental Health Nurse in Manchester before moving into Orthotics and Prosthetics and moving up through the ranks from newly qualified orthotist to a national clinical services manager role.  In 2008 Esther took up a new challenge using the skills gained in her clinical roles to lead the Foundation Trust application programme in Bolton NHS Foundation Trust. Once Bolton achieved Foundation Trust status Esther remained with the Trust for 12 years as Director of Corporate Governance moving to Blackpool in March 2022 for a new challenge.  The main focus of Esther’s role is ensuring the Trust operates within the law and regulatory framework by which NHS organisations are governed.

At the age of 16 Esther was involved in a significant accident resulting in multiple fractures and the amputation of her left foot.  Until recently Esther did not routinely tell people about her disability but now as a steering group member of the NHS Disabled Directors Network uses this experience to positively influence opportunities for others.

Esther has strong ties with Blackpool – she worked as an orthotist at the Victoria Hospital during the 1990s, also working regularly in clinics in Fleetwood and Lytham.  Her local claim to fame is that her great grandfather, famed landscape architect Thomas H Mawson designed Stanley Park.