Council of Governors
I have been a resident of Merton for the last 18 years and my family and I have benefited from the vital services offered by St George’s. I am passionate about the NHS service as I believe it plays a vital role in shaping the social fabric of our society. I have strong experience in industry, working with board members in companies to develop strategy and have also been a volunteer for over 20 years supporting local community members.
I grew up in Merton and have now lived in the Borough for a very long time. Qualifying at Guy’s Hospital, my career has been spent as an NHS dentist and partner in a large well-regarded practice. I have always been interested in the quality of patient care as well as using limited resources wisely. A dental practice is tiny compared with a huge Trust like St George’s but many of the problems are similar. It is a great privilege having a world-class institute like St George’s here in our community, and I am very proud to be a member of its Council of Governors.
I have 25 years’ professional experience in large, complex organisations, like British Airways, and central Government, to successfully hold executives to account for implementing strategy and delivering on their promises. I am an experienced St George’s user, having had major surgery in 3 expert services, and 22 departments, across all sites. I owe my life to St George’s. I’m well-qualified, passionate about patient experience, and have extensive experience in holding executives to account and of St George’s, among the first governors in 2013-2014 and as one of the most active Governors 2016-2019.
All our four children were born at St George’s and over the years the whole family has experienced – often in traumatic situations – the superb care the NHS provides there. Because our son has congenital heart disease, as well as severe learning and other disabilities, we’ve seen how important it is that the voice of carers and learning disability is heard in how the Trust operates. Professionally I’m a senior fellow with a business think tank, and director and former CEO of a trade association. Previous roles have included consultancy, communications, management journalism and working with trade unions.
Rest of England
I was elected Governor when St George’s became a Foundation Trust and have served on the Nominations and Remuneration and Membership and Engagement Committees. I served on focus groups contributing to the selection of our non-executive Directors.
Formerly I was a Tourist Guide, Language Teacher, Surrey County Councillor, Director of SE England Tourist Board and SE England Museums Council.
I was a Conference Organiser mainly with the aim of promoting Women into Public Life, including Public Speaking, handling the Press and the Single Currency. I achieved a BA Hons in History and Politics as a mature student at Kingston University.
I am a journalist writing regularly for the BBC and I’ve regularly covered developments in medical research. I’ve written five short academic books with Routledge, and received a Fulbright fellowship and RUSI’s Trench-Gascoigne Prize. I am finishing a doctorate at Oxford. I’m a school governor of the Harris Academy South Norwood, one of the UK’s largest secondary schools with 2,000 students, formerly a failing school. There I’ve learnt much about taking public bodies from special measures into beacons of excellence. I’m secretary of Ted’s Light, a non-profit working with children in care. I’m also on the board of Irish in Britain, a national charity lately very involved in older immigrants’ Coronavirus medical needs.
I was born in St George’s Hospital when it was in Hyde Park. I was ‘re-born’ in St George’s Hospital in Tooting in January 2016 when my life was saved through 11 hours of risky and complicated brain stem surgery. Thanks to the skill and care of staff, I have emerged unscathed and healthier than before my operation. I am tremendously proud to be a Public Governor of St Georges. I have a particular interest in the safety and well-being of all people who work at St George’s. I am also interested in the development and greater security of the NHS after all its work against Covid-19. I am a barrister and academic at City Law School specialising in employment and public law.
Now in my second term as Governor, my first-hand experience of St. George’s was initially poor. On two occasions in A&E broken bones were missed. As a career Civil Servant I was prepared for bureaucratic intricacies. I decided to volunteer at the Trust and started in 2009. I provide feedback on what I observe whilst at work.
Dr Adil Akram
After studying medicine at Cambridge, I became a Consultant Psychiatrist; for Balham and Tooting CMHT in Wandsworth; then Merton Home Treatment Team – leading them to become a nationally recognised quality service. I’m also a carer, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry and medical finals examiner for St George’s, University of London. I sit as a judicial officer for the First Tier Tribunal appeals’ service (Ministry of Justice) and on the Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group (Home Office). St George’s has a special place in my heart because I was born here, my dad worked here in the NHS, my children were born here too! My family have benefited from St George’s healthcare our whole lives.
Dr Afzal Ashraf
I am proud of Wandsworth’s health facilities including the outstanding hospitals and other services provided by the Trust – which were superb on the rare occasions when my family have needed them. However, this complex and dispersed organisation needs high governance standards, particularly to improve value for money and engagement with patients and Trust members. My diverse career background and experiences have a couple of consistent themes: service to the country and leadership. I hope these qualities will help me make a positive contribution to the governance of an already praiseworthy organisation.
A local resident for 25 years, I have experience of St George’s as both an inpatient and A&E attendee. My professional background is in communications and marketing having worked in the Civil Service for many years and at the RSPCA’s Head Office. I now have my own company specialising in press, public relations and Parliamentary Affairs. I was previously a Wandsworth Councillor for 16 years.
I was born in one of the Trust’s hospitals. I have cared for and ben treated by the Trust’s doctors and nurses and the Trust has cared for my loved ones during their final moments. I understand how integral the Trust is to the lives of local residents. I have worked on health policy for almost a decade, with a track record of delivering real improvements in the health and wellbeing of people.
I am a local resident, parent of two young children, service user of St George’s, and healthcare professional, most recently working with the NHS National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in its communications team. My role at NICE required me to have excellent communications skills across all levels and had to build strong relationships with charities and stakeholders, calling for a high degree of sensitivity, empathy, and a gentle, tactful approach. My family has strong ties to the NHS – my father was a GP, and my mother a nurse, both emigrating to England in their 20s to work for the NHS. I also live with a serious, long-term neurological condition, experiencing all levels of care across the NHS.
Ataul Qadir Tahir
I have been a resident of Wandsworth for over 40 years and have held various positions of authority in the local community. Following a heart attack I received great medical care from St George’s and would like to help other people by contributing my ideas and knowledge to improve their experience. I regularly work with UK and international charities including fundraising for the British Legion’s Poppy Appeal and Humanity First amongst others.
South West Lambeth
Me and my family have lived locally for 40 years. I have good reasons to want to give back to St George’s. It does an amazing job but needs all our support. I wanted to help using my experience as an HR Director in big organisations facing financial, business and political pressures. Being a Governor is about caring about what the Hospital does for its communities. We bring fresh pairs of eyes and different viewpoints. All Governors want to make sure people are treated with care and skill and that their voices are heard when big decisions are made.
Jenni Doman, Non-Clinical
Deputy Director for Estates & Facilities, local resident and user of Trust’s services. I have worked for the Trust for 15 years and represent non-clinical and partner staff on all the Trust sites who provide services to the Trust’s Patients, Visitors and Staff in having a voice in the future of St. George’s.
Marlene Johnson, Nursing & Midwifery
I have been a nurse at St George’s for over three years and I am currently Head of Nursing for Renal, Haematology, Oncology and Palliative Care Services. I am extremely proud of all the areas I manage and the achievements of all my staff. I am totally committed to the Trust and the nursing staff I represent. Putting our patients first to receive outstanding care every time is the standard I encourage in all my teams.
Dr Tunde Odutoye, Medical and Dental
I am an ENT surgeon and I represent all Trust doctors and dentists of whatever rank as your trust medical and dental governor. I have worked at St George’s for 17 years and held various clinical management positions, the last being the Divisional Chair for Surgery, Neurosciences, Cancer, Theatres and Anaesthesia, and Trauma. I love my job at St George’s and I feel very privileged to work with so many skilled, dedicated, enthusiastic, caring good doctors and dentists who work very hard and go the extra miles needed to make things better for our patients.
Alex Quayle, Allied Health Professional and other Clinical and Technical
I am a senior pharmacist working on our Neonatal Unit and like the vast majority of colleagues, I came into healthcare to make a difference to the lives of the people around us. I am passionate about healthcare and I am proud to serve our local and regional communities at St George’s. I have seen first-hand how St George’s is trying to respond to and learn from issues like the recent global movements surrounding women’s and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) rights. I care deeply about these issues too – choosing to study an MSc in Public Health to better understand and contribute to research into how a population’s health are affected by the decisions made by organisations such as St George’s.
Alfredo Benedicto, Healthwatch Merton
Member of the Operational Committee of Healthwatch Merton. Alfredo had a long corporate career in Consumer and Financial services in several locations in Europe and America. Upon his retirement he has devoted his time and energy to the voluntary sector. On top of his role in Healthwatch Merton, he is part of the steering group of Adults First, a programme of Merton Mencap, and of the PEG of the Merton CCG. A Merton resident for the past 26 years and a carer of daughter with learning disabilities.
Sarah Forester, Healthwatch Wandsworth
I am an elected member of the Healthwatch Wandsworth Committee, having retired recently after a career in the NHS and Local Authority Children’s Services. My professional background is as a qualified Nurse and Health Visitor. I have also worked at a national level as a professional officer with the CPHVA, a professional body and trade union. This involved working with Government departments, statutory regulators and professional bodies, to develop policies and good practice standards for Health Visitors and Community Nurses. I have lived in Wandsworth for over 40 years and both myself and my family have used St Georges on many occasions, across a wide range of services, including midwifery, the emergency department, orthopedics, orthodontics, skin cancer and the stroke unit.
Dr Sangeeta Patel, South West London Clinical Commissioning Group
Dr Patel is a GP and senior partner at the Balham Park Surgery in Wandsworth and represents the Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group.
Cllr Sarah McDermott, Wandsworth Council
Cllr Sarah McDermott, Wandsworth Council. Sarah McDermott is a Conservative councillor for Nightingale ward in Wandsworth and is the Chairman of the Community Services and Open Spaces Overview and Scrutiny Committee. She is also the Chairman of Governors at the Wandsworth Pupil Referral Unit and Chairman of the Virtual School Board. Sarah is an admitted solicitor and was an Ofsted school inspector for over 20 years.
Cllr Linda Kirby, Merton Council
Cllr Linda Kirby is the labour councillor for Graveney ward in Merton. Committees: Colliers Wood and North East Mitcham Community Forum, Healthier Communities and Older People Overview and Scrutiny Panel and South West London and Surrey Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (substitute).
Prof Kathy Curtis, Kingston University
Kathy is a nurse by way of professional background and Associate Dean for External Engagement at Kingston University. She is very well networked nationally and with Health Education England and sits on Universities UK’s Council of Deans for Health.