System leaders

Phil Confue, lead for strategy and planning countywide services – chief executive officer, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Phil is an experienced health service professional, with a specialism in mental health. He has extensive board, clinical and general management experience working in mental health
inpatient units, community services, day services and children’s services. Since 2010 he has been chief executive of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

He worked for Suffolk Health’s strategy department, in the 1990’s to gain a strategic view of services, subsequently developing a part time role with the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health to develop evaluation and strategic tools for mental health. Following on from seven years as director of mental health at Plymouth Primary Care Trust where he led the service through significant change, he was approached by Tribal Secta to join their health practice and develop their mental health expertise. This move allowed participation in the NHS at a national level and the opportunity to review a number of different services.

In February 2010 he joined the board of Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust, initially as chief operating officer and then becoming chief executive in October 2010. In 2015 the trust obtained a CQC rating of ‘Good’ in all domains, and subsequently completed a transaction growing the organisation from £70 million to £160 million.

Phil is also vice chair of the South West Academic Health Science Network, a chair for CQC inspections and a leader in the Cornwall STP.

Helen Charlesworth-May, accountable officer, NHS Kernow / strategic director for public health and care, Cornwall Council

Helen became NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group and Cornwall Council’s joint chief officer for health, care and wellbeing on 1 April 2020.

The role provides joint leadership and oversight, as services continue to evolve to meet the changing demands of our population. Under Helen’s leadership, Public Health, health and, care services will be better placed to develop joint approaches and services which respond to people’s needs and promote the wider health and wellbeing of people and communities.

Helen’s appointment follows her work as Cornwall Council’s strategic director of adult social care and health.

Her extensive career in both the NHS and social care spans over 30 years. She has a proven track record of working across adult social care and health, driving forward innovative health and care integration.

Helen’s appointment to this role is initially for 18 months.

Kate Kennally, lead for strategic commissioning – chief executive, Cornwall Council

Kate has been chief executive of Cornwall Council since January 2016. She is passionate about tackling inequality and improving the life opportunities for the people of Cornwall through
economic growth and involving communities in the delivery of public services.

Kate chairs the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Health and Care Partnership Senate for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, working closely with the NHS chief officers to realise our ambition of integrated care.

Kate previously worked for the London Borough of Barnet, after working in health and social care roles for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Strategic Health Authority, Buckinghamshire Primary Care Trust, Buckinghamshire County Council and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

At Barnet she held roles as director of adult social services, director of social care and health and director of children’s services, and strategic director for communities before becoming strategic director for commissioning and deputy chief executive.

Kate Shields – chief executive, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

Kate joined the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust as deputy chief executive in 2017 and took on the role of chief executive in July 2018. Kate is an experienced NHS leader having worked as director of strategy and partnerships at University Hospitals Leicester. She was a registered nurse and mental health nurse at the beginning of her NHS career. Kate has also worked for NHS England as a regional director of specialised commissioning and as the national head of specialised commissioning.