About our Board

We want to make sure that as many people as possible can share their voice and stories with us and so we continue to take steps to involve the public and volunteers in our governance and decisions about our work.

Our Board of Trustees are all volunteers appointed for having a mixture of skills, which includes lived experience and knowledge of health and social care. They govern our activity and by setting priorities are responsible for the strategic oversight of Healthwatch Hertfordshire. The Board ensures that we use our resources wisely and that we keep to our charitable purpose.

The Board meets six times a year with four public meetings and two strategic sessions for Board members only.

Our Chair - Steve Palmer

Steve was elected Chair in May 2018 having previously been our Treasurer. Steve worked in social housing for many years, as Finance Director and Managing Director, and subsequently worked with tenants and others looking at the future of local authority housing. Steve has also served as a Councillor in Watford and has been a Board member of Housing Associations and various Charities. Following a number of years of ill health, Steve has extensive practical experience of the NHS, and wants to ensure that the service we all rely on is the best it can be, and that people are fully involved in the care they receive. 

Our Board

Vice-Chair - Sundera Kumara-Moorthy

Kumar’s working career spanned Electronics and Software industries, where he rose to the board of hi-tech enterprises. Kumar is Trustee of several local and national charities active in Health and Social care space.

Kumar is passionate that fair and equal access to Health Care and Social Care for ALL who need it. Being disabled himself, and having personally experienced at first hand the fallibility of provision of these services in the county, he is especially keen to espouse the importance for service providers to treat clients/patients holistically instead of seeking to address one symptom at a time.

Treasurer - Alan Bellinger

In addition to his role as a Healthwatch Trustee, Alan Bellinger is chair of the Maltings Surgery Patients Participation Group, patient representative on the West Herts Diabetes Steering Group, and member of the Hertfordshire Diabetes Conference Steering Group.

After retirement from a successful career in the private sector (working in both training and Information Technology), Alan wanted to get involved in supporting local health issues and improving the patient experience.

Alan, a widower, has lived in St Albans for almost 70 years; he has two children and he especially enjoys the company of his four grandchildren – all of whom live in Hertfordshire.

Eve Atkins

When a close family member became affected by mental illness, Eve witnessed first-hand the facilities, treatment, system support and various institutions that some people affected by mental illness endure in the mental health care system.

A need to share observations, accumulated knowledge and the drive to improve patient experiences encouraged Eve to join Healthwatch Hertfordshire (HwH). A Governor at HPFT representing HwH, Eve is involved with various groups reviewing Mental Health care processes and practices. Eve is also a Mental Health Act Manager and as such, attends statutory hearings where service users can appeal against their detention under the Mental Health Act.

Alex Booth

Alex is a Programme Manager working for a large retailer and has extensive experience of delivering change impacting large numbers of customers/employees, developing strategy, and managing stakeholder communications. He cares about developing the skills of others and putting individuals at the heart of decision-making.

Outside of work, Alex is an approved foster carer/adopter. Through this role and family he has gained experience of both the children and adult social care sector, as well as the NHS. He is also a volunteer leader in a local scout group. 

Alex is passionate about ensuring that service users are at the heart of decision-making and that the experiences of users of the diverse/lesser known services across health & social care are heard.

Meg Carter

Meg joined Healthwatch Hertfordshire in March 2013. She has worked extensively in social care, initially as a social work practitioner, subsequently as a manager with both locality and departmental responsibility. Her ‘lay’ experience includes co-chairing a local patient group and volunteer work with an NHS Hospital Trust.

Representing Healthwatch in different settings, Meg’s focus is still very much on the experience of service users and their families while helping to ensure that this ‘voice’ is represented at a decision making level.

Brenda Davies

Brenda is a retired teacher who has worked in both mainstream and special education. She has also worked laterally as a Senior Manager providing support and advice to mainstream schools working with children with learning difficulties and on the autistic spectrum.

Following heart surgery in 2012, she became a Patient Governor at Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals to try to give something back for their amazing work. Brenda served on two committees and led an ad hoc committee to promote Governors and Non-Executive Directors working more closely together. During her six years as a Governor Brenda learned about the constant, changing challenges faced by the NHS, and brings that experience to the Board.

Brian Gunson

Brian’s experience in health care spans over fifty years and includes the pharmaceutical industry, medical publications, the NHS, medical charities and consultancy. His consultancy specialised in health policy, stakeholder engagement, public affairs and public relations. 

He is passionate about patient engagement, public involvement and improving the quality of health and social care service experience. This was and is the driving force for his commitment to Healthwatch making the difference.

Virginia Kirri-Songhurst

Virginia has worked in both the private and public sector of health care for over 40 years and is passionate about justice and equality in health and social care.

She is proud to be a Board member at Healthwatch Hertfordshire and looks to contribute towards ensuring better quality of services for those who not only need them but who cannot speak up for themselves. 

Ramone Nurse

Ramone currently works as a Senior Commissioner for a London Borough and has gained over 20 years’ experience in housing, health, and social care. Ramone is passionate about improving health outcomes for the wider population and preventing ill health. In her current role she focuses on improving services in collaboration with residents, using project management and analysis skills to do so.

Working part time as a health and fitness trainer, Ramone has supported those with learning disabilities, older people, and those with mental health issues to increase physical activity and maintain good health outcomes.

Jan Taylor

Jan worked in the NHS for over 30 years as a Therapeutic Radiographer, and retired from her role as Radiotherapy Service Manager in 2006. While in that role she gained a wide experience of cancer service provision, local, regional and national strategic planning, training and education.

Since then, she has been involved as a member of the Board of Governors at the United Hospitals Bath NHS Trust, volunteered with Healthwatch Wiltshire, and upon moving into the area with Healthwatch Hertfordshire. Jan has also worked part-time as Programme Manager for the Soldiering On Awards, honouring the achievements of armed forces veterans.

Jan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of many aspects of service provision to the Board, as well as an appreciation of the challenges faced by health & care services.

Jayne Taylor

Joining the NHS in 1975 Jayne is a registered nurse, health visitor and teacher. She has wide experience of working in health across community, primary care and acute sectors. She was formerly Dean of a large School of Health.

Jayne is passionate about patient and public involvement and was Director of Organisational Development at the NHS Centre for Involvement. She is an experienced researcher and has written a number of academic books over the past 30 years. She has significant experience of project management and currently works part time as a project manager in Hertfordshire.

Michael Taylor

Michael has spent his career working as a H/R and Training Manager for a major shipping company. He managed a large Apprentice Training Scheme.

Michael brings his experience from consultancy work for health in Luton and from the East of England Ambulance Trust as Chair of the Trust User Group when it was first set up.

He joined Hertfordshire LINK when established. He wanted to continue to support patient involvement and experience, and has been a Board member at Healthwatch Hertfordshire since its inception in 2013.

Neil Tester

Neil’s professional focus is on making people’s voices heard in health and social care policy and practice. From 2015 to 2019 he worked for Healthwatch England, since when he has been Director of The Richmond Group of Charities, bringing together major health charities to help them make more difference through collaboration. He also understands how the world looks to health professionals, having worked for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Neil’s personal experience of how the health and care systems affect people comes from years of long-distance caring for parents with multiple conditions, as well as his many months of treatment and rehabilitation following an accident.

Future Board Meetings

Board Meetings in 2022

Our Board meets quarterly in public; please see below dates in the future when our Board will be meeting. Click on the dates to find out what we'll be discussing and how you can take part:

The provisional date for our Annual General Meeting is Tuesday 19th July.

Past Board papers

We make the papers for our public Board meetings available online. We also publish a summary of what was discussed. Check out our past meetings to learn more.

Find out more