Meet our new NExT Director

10 July 2024

Phil Nicholls, Communications Officer, interviewed our new NExT Director Kunal Patel. He explains his role, and the development programme he is a part of.

1. What does your role of NExT Director entail?

Firstly, thank you for inviting me to feature on your website.

The NExT Director scheme is essentially a development programme designed to give participants a unique insight into the role and responsibilities of being an NHS non-executive director. The placement enables me to harness my board level skills and expertise whilst understanding how judgement is brought to bear on issues of strategy, performance and investment of resources in a large and complex NHS environment. Whilst being a consumer of all this tremendous knowledge, I see my role also as sharing my own insights and value through much of what I have learnt in a career outside of healthcare (more on this below!).

2. What has inspired to take up such a role with NHS NW London? Are you new to the NHS? If, so what encouraged you to join in this non-executive capacity?

I am new to the NHS having spent ~20 years in financial services. At its core, two things inspired me - A few years back, both my father and grandmother spent considerable time (different stages) in hospital. Due to various complications, they both needed to be transferred between hospitals and before I knew it, I was back and forth between 4 different London hospitals. I saw many of the strains and challenges encountered by a number of talented healthcare professionals and simultaneously saw great potential to make things better. Secondly, having lived in Brent for the past 40 years, I have a visceral connection with the patch and the desire within me to leverage many of the skills I had gained within my career for the betterment of NW London was growing each day. Hence, I saw this opportunity to join in a non-executive capacity as the perfect way for me to make a meaningful contribution and help the wider NHS team to make the lives of people from all walks of life better from a health and wellbeing perspective.

3. Do you have any plans of what you want to achieve?

At a high-level my plan is to really help the board deliver against the 9 priorities set out in the five-year Joint Forward Plan. At a more granular level, it is to offer purposeful, constructive scrutiny and challenge. It is a great team and it would be a privilege to help and support wherever I can.

4. Tell me about your previous roles, and about any other positions you have?

My previous roles spanned across investment banking, management consulting and asset management. I have been fortunate enough to gain exposure right across the financial services eco-system covering different types of products, investment strategies and markets. A large part of my career was spent at Deutsche Bank. As Partner, I led the UK business of a private equity portfolio company (specialising in advisory and consulting) which taught me a great deal on the trials and tribulations of trying to build a business from the ground up. I am quite passionate about financial services and occasionally share much of my enthusiasm whilst guest lecturing at University College London on their postgraduate Finance programme.

5. What are your interests outside of work/professional role?

I am a huge sports fan (Football, Cricket, Tennis, Snooker), keen reader of non-fiction (last good book I read was ‘Billion Dollar Whale’, fully recommended) and more recently trying to see if I can get my lawn looking like Wimbledon, wishful thinking but would be happy to get even remotely close!


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