Meet the team
CEO - Healthwatch Birmingham and Healthwatch Solihull
Andy is our Chief Executive Officer. His role is to lead Healthwatch Solihull strategically and operationally, on behalf of the Healthwatch Birmingham and Solihull Board.
Andy has a depth of experience in the Voluntary and Community Sector working in a health and social care setting. Working as CEO and senior management team roles has built specialist knowledge in tackling inequality, community development, engagement and public involvement, creating flexible innovative services and quality assurance.
Natalie - Healthwatch Solihull Manager
Natalie worked within health and social care for 6 years. Working within primary care, mental health services, and social care. Having worked on the front line of NHS services, Natalie decided she wanted to be part of improving services for users.
Natalie studied Psychology and Sociology and has a particular interest in mental health studies. Natalie furthered her knowledge of mental health within children and gained a diploma in children's mental health studies.
With a background in mental health services and a passion to improve people's journeys.
Natalie’s role is to manage and support the Healthwatch Solihull team, and ensure that the public and patients views are heard by key stakeholders, and the people running and regulating services
Kemi - Project Officer
Kemi graduated in BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science in 2017 and MSc Global Public Health and Policy in 2018. She has experience working with public health organisations in the UK and Nigeria. With a deep interest in health, Kemi has also volunteered for the NHS and St John Ambulance.
With a background in public health, Kemi is passionate about researching the different ways health can be improved including health services. As Project Officer at Healthwatch Solihull, Kemi will use her skills to investigate and write reports that positively impact the health and social care services in Solihull to the public by listening to the public’s voices
Georgina - Volunteer Coordinator
Georgina graduated in BA (Hons) Business and Advertising.
Georginas role is to engage with the Solihull Community and she is passionate about ensuring the public’s voices are heard.
Georginas role also involves recruiting and supporting our volunteers.
She has previously worked for Birmingham City Council and enjoys helping people and listening to their thoughts and experiences.
Jack - Information & Social Media Officer
Jack has previously worked for Healthwatch in Derby as well as within adult social care.
He has worked in and around the health and social care services for a couple of years.
Jack's main area of expertise is IT, and using it to improve organisations.
Jack studied Business Systems and Technology at Newman University.
He holds both a higher national diploma in enterprise information systems
and a degree in business systems and technology.
Jack has a goal to use his expertise to aid people, by making systems more
Jack's role is to provide information and to signpost residents, as well as managing our social media platforms.
Lawrena is a FDHSC student at University college Birmingham.
She has a diploma in hospitality and events management. Experience in working with diverse groups and management team.
Very confident in engaging with people. My objective is to work within communities and make a difference.
Jane Upton - Head of Operations
Jane is in charge of the smooth running of Healthwatch Birmingham and Solihull. She is accountable for our people, operations, budgets, and project delivery; ensuring these support the CEO’s vision. A key responsibility is to make sure that our staff members have everything they need to complete their roles, are operating efficiently and are happy at work.
Jane joined the team in 2015. She has previously worked in a wide variety of health-related research settings including major teaching hospitals, Education for Health, Brunel University, and the University of Birmingham.
Richard Burden - Chair
Richard was previously Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield from 1992 to 2019. He served as a Shadow Minister and on several Select Committees including chairing the Commons Committee set up to scrutinise West Midlands affairs.
An experienced community leader, Richard drove initiatives to build community resilience in South West Birmingham during a time of deep social and economic challenges, including those related to the loss of car manufacturing at Longbridge.
Richard brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role and a passion for helping the people of Birmingham and Solihull.
Tony Green - Non Executive Director
Tony’s been Director of Human Resources for a company of 5,000 staff, General Manager of a professional institute, and Director of HR Strategy during the creation of the Environment Agency from 85 smaller organisations. He also lectured in management topics then became a management consultant specialising in business transformations (exciting, high pay, high risk work) until his wife developed motor neurone disease. His ‘instant expert’ role in Birmingham Council’s Scrutiny team was working with the councillor chairs of the Health and Care Scrutiny Committees and briefing them about topics raised by Committee members.
He served on Birmingham Area Prescribing Committee, chairing its Governance Committee, chaired committees of Accord Housing Association Group, served on the boards of subsidiary housing associations then became chair of the Accord Group Board.
Until Covid, Tony chaired an enormous Patient Participation Group (PPG) and Solihull PPGs Network. He currently serves on three patient groups in UHB and is deputy chair of one.
Fiona Taylor - Non-Executive Director
Fiona has worked in a range of health and social care charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Leonard Cheshire, Anchor Trust and Motor Neurone Disease Association – both in education and service improvement roles. She is passionate about reducing health inequality and working with service providers to support people to live the best life they can.
Fiona has also been an Associate Lecturer at Open University for 10 years, where she has taught modules in communication, management and leadership in health and social care. Her original qualification is in Speech and Language Therapy, and she also has post-graduate qualifications in Training & Development and Learning Disability. She is a Chartered Manager with a special interest in the relationships between voluntary and statutory organisations
Jasbir Rai - Company Secretary
Jas is responsible for the efficient administration of Healthwatch, ensuring compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements and for ensuring that decisions of directors are implemented.
Jas is the Deputy CEO of BVSC and has worked in the sector for 17 years and has been company secretary for BVSC for over 10 years. Jas has been involved with Healthwatch Birmingham from when it was first set-up and has a wealth of experience in supporting boards and in strategic financial management.
Neelam Heera - Non-Executive Director
Neelam Heera is the founder of Cysters, a grassroots organisation dedicated to supporting women with reproductive and mental health issues. Cysters work with marginalised communities and remain culturally sensitive despite challenging topics around these health concerns. The group work with the community to reduce cultural barriers, tackle exclusion and ensure equal access to healthcare.
Neelam is also a trustee for Stop Hate UK and the Brain Injury Association. She has recently been awarded a Points of Light from the Prime Minister and is named as Birminghams 30 under 30
Dr Peter Rookes - Non-Executive Director
Dr Peter Rookes is an experienced health service manager, educator and researcher, who has worked extensively in both the state and non-state sectors in the UK and overseas.
Peter most recently researched relationships between faith-based health providers and governments in developing countries. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ramblers, with a special interest in the Walking for Health Programme.
Dr Rookes is a Non-Executive Director for Birmingham Voluntary Service Council and County International and Faiths Advisor for Birmingham Scouts. As Secretary for Birmingham Council of Faiths, he works to achieve cohesion between people of different faiths and promote the involvement of people of faith in civil society.
With the assistance of colleagues, Peter coordinates the annual Faiths for Fun for children, the twice yearly Faiths, Health and Wellbeing Seminars, and the Birmingham programme for National Interfaith Week.
Having worked in several developing countries, Peter is passionate that comprehensive healthcare should be available according to clinical need and free at the point of delivery, and there should be public involvement in making decisions about health service priorities
Dr John James – Non-Executive Director
John was born in West Bromwich, graduated from University of Birmingham and has spent his working career in Staffordshire, living in Lichfield.
John currently works as the Medical Director for Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent STP. Prior to this he was a GP in Lichfield for 33 years, and held roles including Chair of South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsular CCG, honorary lecturer at the University of Birmingham, examiner for The Royal College of GPs and civilian advisor to the Tri Services General Practice Education Committee
John has always been committed to the development of future health professionals, through his involvement with the training of undergraduates, postgraduates, GP Registrars, Advanced Nurse Practitioners and Allied Health Professionals
In his roles he has always championed the involvement of the citizen in decisions as regards their health care, be that with the individual or the wider population.
John is passionate about ensuring the citizen and patient voice is central to the planning, commissioning and delivery of health care. John set up his practice’s first patient participation group in the early 1980s, developed a citizen and patient council for the CCG he chaired and has worked closely with Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Healthwatch in his role of STP Medical Director.
James Doyle - Volunteer Board Representative
James has been volunteering with Healthwatch Solihull since November 2019.
Before lockdown James had been involved with Mental Health Awareness evenings, assisted writing reports and received training on report writing also. He has remained an active volunteer throughout the pandemic by helping out with projects virtually and attending volunteer meetings.
With over 20 years’ experience working closely with Children’s and Adults Boards for the Children’s Society, NSPCC and Local Authority, James can now apply his knowledge and expertise in his role representing the Healthwatch Solihull Volunteer Team.
Tim Phillips - Volunteer Board Representative
Tim Joined Birmingham City Council Older Adults section in 1994 post qualification as a Social Worker and spent 23 years as a practitioner and Assistant Manager leaving the council in December 2017. In the years of being a practitioner with the City Tim has been able to build a wealth of experience in terms of statutory service delivery and is familiar with some of the real and perceived barriers citizens hold of the role of social workers and the assessment process.
Tim has experience in the voluntary sector as chair of the Disability Resource Centre since 2004 and has been able to understand the difficulties disabled people have to overcome in all aspects community engagement and access to health, education, and employment and training. Recognising disabled citizens of Birmingham and wider West Midlands ongoing struggle for equality of access to all aspects of community engagement Tim has also broadened his voluntary activities in the community.
Some of Tim’s other voluntary activities include, Birmingham City Council’s Citizens Voice, Healthwatch Birmingham, Birmingham University Hospitals NHS trust which includes membership of Heartlands hospital site action group. Also membership of DMR company’s Children’s services as a Lay person on their fostering panel.