Prof. John Howarth

Professor of Primary Care

School of Medicine

Samuel Lindow Building , SLB126

+44 (0) 1772 89 + 44 (0)1946 517220

Professor John Howarth is a senior clinician with over 30 years experience. He is currently deputy chief executive of Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust and leads on service improvement. John was a GP in Cockermouth for over 20 years until April 2014. He has had a varied career including clinical director for community services, medical director of Cumbria’s GP Out of Hours cooperative, chaired the primary care research group, medical adviser to the local hospice and worked across 13 conflict zones in the 1990s.


  • Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners.
  • Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health.

Full Profile

Dr John Howarth is a senior clinician with over 30 years experience. He is a director in Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust leading on service improvement and deputy chief executive.

John was a GP in Cockermouth for over 20 years until April 2014. He has had a varied career including clinical director for community services, medical director of Cumbria’s GP Out of Hours cooperative, chairing the primary care research group, a GP trainer for over 10 years and medical adviser to the local hospice at home charity. During the 1990s John worked in 13 different conflicts and natural disasters becoming medical director and head of operations of in international disaster relief charity. He led the health response to the floods in Cockermouth in 2009. He was a runner up in the national NHS Leadership Awards in 2010 (open to 1.3million employees with over 1000 nominations) and received a Fellowship in Public Health through distinction in 2011.


Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Service Improvement , Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust (one of 6 executive directors in the Trust covering 3500 staff and £170m)

Clinical lead for CLIC (Cumbria Learning and Improvement Collaborative). Based on Qulturum from Jonkoping it provides learning across all health and care organisations in Cumbria. I had the original idea for this and developed the successful business case. It has trained thousands of staff and ran 34 training events in Nov 2015 alone.

Clinical lead for BLIC (Bay Learning and Improvement Collaborative). This is a new initiative to create a CLIC like learning collaborative for the whole health and care system across Morecambe Bay. I wrote and presented papers to the Vanguard programme board – it will be the learning and improvement engine for our emerging accountable care system.

Clinically active as a GP ½ - 1 day per week – working mostly in Millom GP practice

Clinical leadership system wide in Vanguard PACS programme Morecambe Bay – part of the successful bid team and I am also involved in the success regime in North Cumbria


GP Principal Cockermouth 1987-91 and 1997 – 2014

One of 2 clinical leaders (the other being the national director for urgent care) in turnaround intervention in the Northern Trust Northern Ireland in 2013.

Clinical Director Adults NHS Cumbria (lead clinician in PCT provider arm, £55 million, 2300 staff) and Elderly Care Lead Commissioning x 4 years 2007-11

GP trainer, West Cumbria Vocational Training Scheme for General Practice x 10 years.

Lead for Integrated Care Organisations in North Cumbria

Medical Director GP Co-operative x 7 years

Designed, set up and taught comprehensive training programme in Out of Hours Care which has run for 10+ years

Annual undergraduate teaching Northumbria on disaster medicine

Chair of primary care research network in late1990s

1991 – 1997 Worked in 13 different wars initially for Medecins Sans Frontieres then became Medical Director and Head of Operations for Merlin (Medical Emergency Relief International). I designed, implemented and evaluated major relief programmes e.g. maternal and child health programmes in 4 Taliban controlled provinces of Afghanistan including Kandahar and Helmand, Lassa fever control programme in Sierra Leone, major programmes in Rwanda, Goma, Mozambique, Angola, West Bank, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Chechnya, introducing WHO based TB programmes into the Russian Federation etc.


1983 MBBS University of Newcastle Upon Tyne

1988 MRCGP with distinction. (Membership of the Royal College of General.

1992 DTM&H (Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene) Liverpool.

2010 FFPH through distinction Fellowship Faculty of Public Health

2013 FRCGP - Fellowship in General Practice


Runner up: National NHS leadership awards ‘Best Newcomer’ 2010 (over 1000 applicants and open to 1.3m staff)

2010 National Association of Primary Care award ‘Best Integrated Care’ Cockermouth Integrated care Team Judges comments ‘World Class NHS’

2011 and 2012 National Association of primary care award ‘Best Care Closer to Home’

2013 Overall Winner Community Hospitals Association national award

2010 – Won 6 other national awards for the community services that I led

2010 ‘NHS Heroes’ reception – small group of NHS workers invited to Number 10 to meet the prime minister




Teaching Newcastle medical students on the Global Health Course (I do this every year)
Teaching on Elizabeth Garrett Anderson programme (NWLA/Kings Fund) on medical leadership
Teaching ward rounds on physical health for mental health
Ran multiple workshops e.g. quality governance for general practice
Ran workshop for chief execs and medical directors visiting from Johannesburg.
Ran several workshops for national Vanguard team
3 presentations at national Kings Fund conferences:
Place Based Systems of Care
Community Care – what does good look like
Pressure points – how can we support GPs to cope with growing demand

Yale Strategic leadership programme –I did a presentation to Yale Faculty of Public Health
Speaker at Patient Safety Conference
Speaker at Cumbria GP conference
Speaker at HENW Integrated care Showcase event Bolton
Speaker community hospitals annual conference alongside Simon Stevens and Nigel Edwards
Speaker at NHS Expo
Speaker on new care models ‘Leadership and the northern powerhouse’ conference

Earlier I have just selected a few here:

Speaker NHS Expo 2014
Masterclasses for Liverpool community trust and wider health and care system (see feedback) 2014
Speaker Royal College of Physicians 2013 on ‘Clinicians in Leadership’
Designed, set up and taught a comprehensive training programme in Out of Hours Primary Care which has run for 10+ years. I was funded by the Northern Deanery for a year and wrote business cases for sustainable funding, created standard slide sets, organised speakers, taught many of the sessions. Hundreds of GP registrars and new GP principles have passed through this course and it is still running.



RESEARCH Activities

Working with Professor Janusz Jankowski to develop the UCLan West Cumbria campus research programme.


Development of West Cumbria Medical Education Centre, GP Recruitment Collaborative for North Cumbria, NHS England ‘Health as a Social Movement’, Love Barrow Families 

TEACHING activities and responsibilities

Contributing to physicians associate and MBBS programmes 

External Activities

  • Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Service Improvement, Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust
  • Clinical lead for CLIC (Cumbria Learning and Improvement Collaborative)
  • Clinical lead for BLIC (Bay Learning and Improvement Collaborative)
  • General Practitioner – Millom GP Practice
  • Clinical leadership system wide in Vanguard Primary and Acute Care System programme Morecambe Bay
  • Success Regime (North Cumbria) 


I produce a large number of reports in my work. Inspired by visits to Jonkoping in Sweden , Alzira in Spain and 4 visits to the US studying US health systems I wrote ‘Learning from Jonkoping’, ‘Learning from Alzira’, ‘Learning from Nissan’, ‘What is accountable care?’

I often write up learning from conferences into short reports e.g. Telehealth. I contributed to 2 recent annual reports by CLIC. I have written recent case studies used by PWC, Kings Fund, National New Care Models Team, NHS England. I write a significant number of reports for the trust – e.g. A Public Health Strategy for CPFT, Integrated Care Communities (our place based integrated teams), Physical health for mental health. I led and wrote reports on a review of older peoples services, a review of community hospitals and a review of palliative care. The innovative triangulation method we developed for these reviews was shortlisted for a national award by NICE.



  • Textbook - "Palliative Care for the Primary Health Care Team" Palmer and Howarth 2006 Quay Books.
  • Co-author "Guideline to epidemics - Malaria." Benson/Howarth Medecins Sans Frontieres 1994. This is the malaria guide used by all sections of MSF in over 40 countries worldwide. One of a series of practical field guidelines to epidemic management. I was also a contributor to the MSF cholera guideline.
  • Chapter on Refugees, Disaster Relief and Migration, Churchill Livingstone, Textbook of Travel Medicine 2000. Howarth J
  • The polio and diphtheria situation in Chechnya 1995. Howarth, J Merlin 1996.
    Kandahar 1995 - the health situation in South West Afghanistan during the first year of the Taleban occupation. Howarth, J. Merlin 1996.
  • Wrote a series of guidelines: e.g. Proposal writing in emergency humanitarian relief, Report writing in emergency humanitarian relief and Guide to Needs Assessment in conflict zones Merlin 1996


Historic Papers:


  • Use of cluster analysis to guide the humanitarian aid effort in Grozny Chechnya 1995 Disasters 2000. Drysdale, Howarth J.
  • Primary Care in Disaster and Refugee settings. Howarth J, RCGP International Newsletter. 1997
  • Health Care in disaster and refugee settings, Howarth J, Banatvala N, Healing T, The Lancet 1997. 349 (suppl 111) 14 - 17.
  • A minimum data set for emergencies, Africa health. Howarth, J. 1996.
  • Mortality and Morbidity Amongst Rwandan Refugees Repatriated From Zaire, November 1996. Pre-Hospital and Disaster Medicine Banatvala N., Rogers A, Denny A, and Howarth J.