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


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 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 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.

Kelvin Rushworth

Kelvin Rushworth

Independent Board member

Kelvin is Chair of the Alnwick Medical Group Patient Participation Partnership. He is also Trustee of North Northumberland Voluntary Forum, an accredited Parliamentary Outreach Trainer, Press Officer for Wooler U3A and a National U3A Volunteer.

In his twenties Kelvin worked as a teacher, a manager in educational publishing and in health and social care, specialising in community engagement and community development in a hospital and a local authority social services department.

He went on to be Assistant Director of the mental health charity Mind and has worked in the voluntary sector in North Northumberland.

Kelvin says, “Every resident of Northumberland is a registered patient at primary care level - that first encounter with the NHS is crucially important. Everyone suffers both mental and physical ill health at some time in their lives and the two are inter-related.”

Hayley Brown

Hayley Brown

Independent Board Member

Hayley is the Manager of Barnabas Safe and Sound, an organisation which has been providing support services to local young people within Northumberland since 2001.

Services include supported accommodation for young people at risk and floating support services for people aged 16 to 25 years. Barnabas also specialises in youth work and manages the Stobhill Centre – a great space for children and young people to get active, be creative and engage in meaningful activities.

We welcome Hayley’s expertise and experience of working with children and young people in board level decisions.

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.

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 VCS continues to face difficult times 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.

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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