Meet the board

Our trust board of directors is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organisation and making sure the organisation is performing as it should be. The board is made up of the chairman, chief executive, executive directors and non-executive directors.

Professor Derek Bell OBE - Joint Chairman

Joint Chairman for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Derek has 40 years’ experience in the NHS and previously served as President of the Royal College of Physicians. He was awarded an OBE in 2018 for services to unscheduled care and quality improvement.

Julie Gillon - Chief executive

Since joining the trust in 2002, I have held strategic management roles prior to becoming Chief Operating Officer/Deputy Chief Executive where I was responsible for managing a significant and complex portfolio in addition to supporting the Chief Executive and Board to ensure successful delivery of quality, financial and operational performance as well as responsibility for leading agendas including emergency preparedness and cancer service delivery. I successfully delivered the key compliance elements of the Monitor Terms of Authorisation as well as directing the annual clinical services strategic development plans and managed service transformation to support strategic direction.

I was appointed Interim Chief Executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust in October 2017 and continue to oversee the strategic direction of the trust, working and engaging with clinicians, other staff throughout the organisation and external partners to further develop a clinical and financial sustainability model, within the context of the wider Sustainability and Transformation Partnership in a  forward looking trust recently rated good by the Care Quality Commission

Levi Buckley - Chief Operating Officer

Levi was appointed as chief operating officer in November 2019, joining us from TEWV FT where he held senior management and director roles for 15 years in a variety of challenging roles which has enabled him to successfully improve services across the north east with a strong focus on partnership working.

He started his working life in health promotion and community development before he joined the NHS in 1998 as a management trainee working at Newcastle Hospitals Trust and Newcastle PCT. Having worked in the health and social care for over 25 years, he has had an immensely satisfying career and is committed to the values of NTHFT and working in partnership to make a difference for our staff and the communities we serve. His primary role on the Board is to ensure the Trust delivers operational targets such as waiting times and ensures that the trust delivers high performing services for patients.

Levi graduated from the University of Newcastle in 1993 with a BA in Town Planning and holds a Masters in Health Economics and Health Policy from the University of Birmingham.

Neil Atkinson - Director of finance

Having studied for my BA Hons in Economics, my natural progression led me into a career within the banking industry.  Having spent a number of years within private industry, I was drawn to the values of the public sector specifically the NHS.  I joined the NHS in 1997 via the NHS National Graduate Scheme and subsequently qualified as an Accountant in 2000.  Earlier in my career, I went on to work within a number of provider and commissioning organisations, which allowed me to appreciate the importance of financial and procurement teams working closely with clinical and operational teams to deliver excellent patient care. My key passion is to support and develop finance teams to deliver high quality finance support.   My previous role as Operational Director of Finance at Leeds Teaching Hospitals and more recently Director of Finance at North Tees provided with me with an appreciation of the scale, complexity and challenges of healthcare in the 21st Century.

I feel it is a huge privilege to work within healthcare, the NHS is a unique team that supports its’ population with healthcare that is free at the point of care, no matter who you are or what your background is.

Deepak Dwarakanath - Medical director

I qualified in 1986 and have worked as a Consultant Gastroenterologist at the trust since 1996. I was appointed to the position of medical director on 15 June 2016, providing both clinical and managerial  leadership for the medical workforce of the trust.

In partnership with the Director of Nursing, I am also responsible for achieving high quality patient care ensuring safe and efficient practices and meeting the needs of patients and their carers.

Part of this role also involves managing the performance of medical staff to ensure they deliver efficient and effective services.

Lindsey Robertson - Chief nurse and Director of patient safety and quality


Susy Cook - Interim Chief People Officer

I am delighted to have joined the organisation as Interim Chief People Officer where I will support and further evolve the great work to date, so people are supported to do their best work.

I have been privileged to work in the NHS and academia for 21 years in various roles. I hope to provide additional value and skill to support increasing focus on people and culture, to reflect the new and coming nature of HR, which I am passionate and committed to.

I believe a fantastic culture and employee experience will lead to great patient care.

Gillian Colquhoun - Chief information and technology officer


Linda Hunter - Interim director of planning and performance


Steve Hall - Vice chair and independent non executive director

I am passionate about the area and the people of Hartlepool and Tees.

I bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to the trust from my very successful business portfolio and management career.

My fellowship of the Royal Society helps bring an external challenge and my role as a Magistrate brings understanding and compassion in the very real social and economic issues facing our community and our patients.

I am always seeking to further the trust values both regionally and Nationally and never compromise putting patients first.

My commitments at the trust include ; Finance Committee, Patient Safety & Quality Transformation Chair,Remuneration Committee, Director of Optimus Health and Chair Of The Trust LLP.

Fay Scullion - Interim non executive director

Ian Simpson - Interim non executive director

Ann Baxter - Independent non executive director

Chris Macklin - Interim non executive director


Board Declaration of Interest Register 2022