Our Team

Meet the Healthwatch Northumberland Team

Staff Team

Derry Nugent

Derry Nugent

Project Coordinator

Derry leads the Healthwatch Northumberland staff team and works with the Board to ensure we listen to the communities of Northumberland when they talk about health and social care and use the strength of this collective voice to build relationships with providers and influence change.

Derry has wide experience working in senior and leadership roles in the public and charity sectors. She started her career in the Citizens Advice Bureau service before moving to grant making and fundraising. She is a serial volunteer and is currently a Justice of the Peace.

Claire Jackson

Claire Jackson

Information, Communication & Marketing Officer

Before joining the team Claire worked in the marketing department of a leisure trust where she also led on the Better Health at Work Scheme. She has much experience in PR, marketing and sales management and oversees Healthwatch Northumberland’s communications, including the design of our new website.

With a keen interest in public health and health inequalities, Claire aims to reach as many people living in Northumberland as possible, raising awareness of Healthwatch Northumberland’s work and sharing health promotion and prevention messages.

Anne Armstrong

Anne Armstrong

Engagement Officer

Anne’s professional background and early career started in statutory social work. She has worked with people of all ages but eventually specialised in work with children, young people and their families.

With over 20 years management experience working for two national children‘s charities, Anne has developed and managed family centres and Sure Start Children’s Centres in the North East, Cumbria and Essex. She is passionate about working in partnership with children, young people and families in the design, development and delivery of services.

Heather Pringle

Heather Pringle

Engagement Assistant

Before joining the team Heather worked in the region to provide disability support for adults and young people - supporting special education curriculum and increasing independence through arts, leisure and community integration. She has supported community consultations and health programmes internationally and worked in the charity sector in different developing contexts.

Heather is keen to ensure that community and individual voices are heard and represented, and looks forward to meeting with a broad range of people and organisations active across Northumberland. As Engagement Assistant, she looks forward to working with the team to put community interests at the centre of our work.

Tania Porteous

Tania Porteous

Engagement Assistant

Tania joined Healthwatch Northumberland in May, having previously worked with young people in further education and also helping children and young people with disabilities design and manage their own personal budgets.

She is looking forward to meeting people of all backgrounds in the communities of Northumberland in her new role as Engagement Assistant, listening to and gathering their views of health and social care services in the area.

Tania aims to help local people to voice their opinions on current services to help influence positive change for the whole community.

Jean Pearson

Jean Pearson

Administration Assistant

Jean comes to Healthwatch Northumberland with a 20 year NHS career under her belt; firstly as a general and orthopaedic nurse and then for Marie Curie Cancer Care, followed by her role as Office Manager in a Northumberland GP practice. As well as updating the supporters and volunteers database, Jean manages the feedback we receive from health and social care users. She produces reports for the Healthwatch Board and service providers, identifying any recurrent issues and also helping with any individual concerns.

In addition to assisting the team with administration, data management and signposting, Jean takes board minutes for both Adapt NE and Healthwatch Northumberland.

Board Members

The Healthwatch Northumberland Board Members have a wealth of experience in the health, social care and voluntary sector between them and are passionate about making sure your voice is heard. The board’s role is to provide strategic direction for and oversight of Healthwatch Northumberland’s work.  The board has authority and responsibility to make strategic decisions with regard to all aspects of Healthwatch Northumberland’s work.

As part of this, the Healthwatch Northumberland Board is responsible to:

  • ensure the elements of Healthwatch Northumberland are meeting their aims and are carried out in an inclusive and equitable way.
  • receive and respond to reports from Northumberland Health and Wellbeing Board, Healthwatch England and other relevant strategic bodies.
  • stay informed regarding strategic developments in health and social care at both a county and a national level.
  • work constructively to improve health and social care services in Northumberland.
David Thompson

David Thompson

Chair

David is delighted to have been appointed as Chair of Healthwatch Northumberland after having served for many years within the county as Head Teacher of Haydon Bridge High School and more recently as Non-Executive Director of the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

He says,"I believe there is much still to be done in terms of supporting, advising and representing patients, families and carers within the county. Rest assured that Healthwatch Northumberland’s staff, volunteers and board members will do everything they can to work positively with our health and social care partners to ensure excellence of provision. That is what we are charged with doing and we shall not shirk from fulfilling such a responsibility."

David is looking forward to liaising with local and national Healthwatch to bring a wider perspective and a coherence of approach to the challenges ahead and to best serve the interests of the wider community of Northumberland.

Carole Pitkeathley

Carole Pitkeathley

Vice Chair

Carole has 16 years board level experience across all sectors and was a founding member of Energywatch, the government’s advocacy body for energy consumers. She is the chair of the Marine Medical Group Patient Participation Group (PPG) in Blyth.

Carole says, “I firmly believe that engaging with stakeholders is a fundamental accountability mechanism and that organisations are obliged to give a voice to those who have a right to be heard."

Passionate about consumer rights and with a clear and practical understanding of the issues that matter to consumers, Carole has significant experience of representing those who are disadvantaged, hard to reach, require priority services or need additional help. Carole is a lifelong resident of Blyth and has developed a strong understanding of local and regional differences, developing strong networks to help manage issues and ensure services are delivered and needs met.

Margaret Young

Margaret Young

Individual Board Member

Margaret’s career in health and social care began over 40 years ago. She managed residential homes day services for Northumberland County Council, caring for people with physical and learning disabilities as well as people with dementia. She also supported young people on the youth training scheme, many of which are still working in health and social care.

After taking early retirement in 1999 Margaret returned to work two years later, managing the NVQ centre, delivering vocational training and assessment in health and social care across the region to both the private and voluntary sectors.

Since retiring six years ago Margaret has continued to support health and social care in the county as a member of Seaton Park Patient Participation Group and a Healthwatch Northumberland volunteer, attending meetings and conferences on our behalf. Margaret brings her great knowledge and understanding of the management of change to her role as board member.

Colin Watson

Colin Watson

Individual Board Member

Colin is retired and is a member of North East Pensioners Association, Royal British Legion and Rotary. Having worked in the civil service for many years he has managed the challenges of budget cuts and privatisation whilst balancing the needs of politicians with the rights of customers.

As well as being a Governor of various schools in the county, Colin had a short spell as a County Councillor.

He says, "Healthwatch is vital to the success of the National Health Service. It is only through listening to patients and their families, understanding the significant issues facing the service providers and bringing a whole person focus to the forefront of decision making, that we can continue to have an NHS of which we can all be proud.”

Madeleine Elliott

Madeleine Elliott

Individual Board Member

Madeleine started her career in nursing, holding senior posts at Newcastle hospitals and becoming Regional Nurse for the Northern General Health Authority. A former Northumberland magistrate, Madeleine has been both chairman of the board of trustees and interim chief executive for Age UK Northumberland and is currently vice president. Other positions include trustee for Mental Health Concern, chair of Crossroads Carers NE England and public governor for the NTW NHS Trust.
For several years Madeleine was independent chair of the Continuing NHS Healthcare Appeals Panel for the North East Strategic Health Authority and then an independent consultant for a health trust, advising on its continuing healthcare appeals process. Madeleine is a member of the Northumberland Ageing Well Network, Ageing Well Partnership Board, the Years Ahead Partnership Board and the North East Dementia Alliance.

Liz Prudhoe

Liz Prudhoe

Representing Adapt (NE)

Liz is the Director of Adapt (North East), a role which she undertook in 2002. She has since been instrumental in the development and growth of the organisation, including supporting Northumberland LINk and now Healthwatch Northumberland. In 2012 she won the North East woman entrepreneur of the year award in the Best Social Enterprise category for Adapt.

Liz hopes that her role as a board member for Healthwatch Northumberland will enable her to put effective lines in place between a community voice and commissioners and providers. Her wealth of experience leading organisations to achieve goals for the local community makes her instrumental in the development and success of Healthwatch Northumberland.

Anne Lyall

Anne Lyall

Representing Northumberland VCS Assembly

Anne is the CEO of Northumberland Community & Voluntary Action (Northumberland CVA) and the current holder of the Northumberland VCS Support Services Commission, delivering support services to the voluntary and community sector in the county. The CVA provides information, advice and support to voluntary and community organisations throughout Northumberland to enable them to grow and develop.

Anne says, “The VCSE is facing further difficult times ahead but is needed more than ever, to support local communities and the reduced services historically provided by the public sector. The sector must continue to work in partnership and access funding opportunities to ensure its and local communities future.”

Anne is interested in building the VCS to have a stronger voice, greater influence and in developing the work undertaken by the VCS Assembly in growing better relationships and partnership working with the public sector.

Catherine Lee

Catherine Lee

Representing Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Catherine is the manager of North of Tyne PALS, an NHS service which can assist patients, families and carers with any questions or concerns they may have.

As well as her role within the NHS, Catherine has also had many years of experience working in the voluntary sector, including management of a carers centre and being a trustee for a local advocacy service.

She has considerable experience of involvement and engagement as well as giving advice and information.

Catherine says, “I want to develop a positive working relationship between services in the best interests of the public, patients, families and carers.”

Catherine hopes that working with Healthwatch Northumberland will assist in maintaining a positive working relationship between the two services.

Sharon Spurling

Sharon Spurling

Representing Carers Northumberland

Sharon is the Chief Executive of Carers Northumberland, a countywide charity dedicated to improving the lives of carers by responding to their needs, informing them of their rights and entitlements, supporting carers to access help for the person they care for, reducing the social isolation that so many carers feel and empowering carers to have a voice.

Sharon says, “I feel passionately that people who use services should have their views heard; whether it is by developing new work or challenging how services across all sectors are delivered. Healthwatch Northumberland is vital in that it enables communities to do just that."

Sharon has worked in the voluntary sector for over 25 years, twenty of them in Northumberland, working with local communities, carers, substance users and vulnerable women. She has been involved in national grant making and developing partnership projects.

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