Board

HEALTHWATCH NORTHUMBERLAND BOARD MEMBERS

The Healthwatch Northumberland Board Members bring their experience and expertise in the health, social care and voluntary sector to the table 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 became Chair of Healthwatch Northumberland in 2017 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 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 liaises key stakeholders and other local 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.

Margaret Young

Margaret Young

Vice Chair

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

Sue Taylor

Sue Taylor

Independent Board Member

Sue worked at executive level in the voluntary sector for over thirty years and retired in 2019 after 20 years as Chief Executive Officer of Sight Service - the leading voluntary sector service provider for visually impaired people in the north east of England.

Having also recently retired from her post as Chair of Healthwatch South Tyneside, Sue is now is on the board of Healthwatch Northumberland, and is a resident of Northumberland.
For all of her professional life Sue has championed the needs of visually impaired people, working at local, regional and national level, and now is continuing this through her work with Lions Clubs International where she is regional and national lead for Vision/Sight.

Mike Allport

Mike Allport

Independent Board Member

Mike lives in north Northumberland where he worked in education for most of his career until retiring 15 years ago.

His work as Headteacher in an outdoor education centre took him around most of the county and he became aware of how large and sparsely populated it is.

This led Mike to joining his GP surgery’s Patient Participation Group at its formation. Mike says "My time spent as a member of the group has strengthened my awareness of the difficulties many users of the health service face in rural communities and the need for them to be included in county-wide planning".

Fareeha Usman

Fareeha Usman

Independent Member

Fareeha is a multi-award winner, an internationally respected EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) Innovation Worker and an Entrepreneur for Good. A global voice of authority on gender EDI, she is the founder of the charity Being Woman and the mind behind the Food Sharing App ‘Share Karo’. She is also a Trustee for YMCA Northumberland and an advisor to TechMums whilst being an Agile Business Analyst.

Fareeha is working with Dynamo North East to foster better understanding of EDI in the North East tech sector. She has been actively promoting digital and social inclusion in the county and is one of the 100 Tech Up Women Programme. She strongly advocates for the promotion of EDI and supports BAME, asylum seekers and refugee women and families, with a strong belief that people should be recognised on the basis of their talent and capabilities.

Liz Prudhoe

Liz Prudhoe

Representing Adapt (NE)

Liz is the Director of Adapt (NE), 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 (NE).

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 vast experience leading organisations to achieve goals for the local community makes her instrumental in the development and success of Healthwatch Northumberland.

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 about their care.

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 help in maintaining a positive working relationship between the two services.

Debra Blakey

Debra Blakey

Representing Carers Northumberland

Debra is CEO of Carers Northumberland; a charity providing information, advice and support to unpaid family/friend carers across the county. Having worked for the charity in various roles for over 10 years Debra became CEO in 2018.

Debra say, "I have worked in both private organisations and the public sector but I have to say, working in the voluntary sector is by far the most rewarding if also the most challenging. I have always lived in Northumberland and love the county. I understand the issues and challenges that living in and working across such a large geographical and rural area brings. I would like to see carer issues recognised at all levels of health and social care provision and believe that the close partnership working with Healthwatch Northumberland strengthens the aims and objectives of both organisations."

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